Seeing in the Dark: Reflections on Dreams and Dreaming

Seeing in the Dark: Reflections on Dreams and Dreaming

by Bert O States

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What is the relation between waking experience and dreams, and between dreams and literary creativity? In this book Bert States explores the nature of dream imagery, the metaphorical processes in dreaming, and the nature and sources of dream narrative. Challenging the classical psychoanalytic view that dreams represent censored wishes, he argues instead that dreams are nonrepressive, unplanned constructions that unfold one image at a time with no other end than making the most integral use of the images at hand. Dreams are a phenomenon of mind and, like art, are manifestations of a biological need to convert experience into structure, says States.

If we acknowledge that dreaming is a biological activity (because virtually all mammals are known to dream), then we may profitably study dreams as instances of an evolutionary process in which images survive by a form of natural selection to influence the remainder of the dream, States contends. And if dreams have any meaning, it is no different in kind from the meaning that may be given to waking experience.

In addition to evolutionary biology, States draws on cognitive psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, literary and rhetorical theory, and philosophy, as well as poetry, literature, and drama. His provocative and lively investigation of dreams will appeal to any reader curious about the mind's activity during sleep.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300105643
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 01/11/1997
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Introduction 1(11)
1 Why We Dream: The Lingering Question
2 The Myth of the Intelligent Dream
3 Chuang-Tzu's Doubt
4 The Time-Space of Dreams
5 The Harrison Ford Syndrome
6 "Sometimes a Cigar..."
7 Remains of the Day
8 Involuntary Poetry
9 The Mobius Script
10 The Death of the Finch
Works Cited 251(8)
Index 259

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