In this essay, I examine works of literature that present themselves as psychological curiosities by using dreaming as a modality of displaced, unintentional, or even reluctant authorship. What is it to write in, of, or like a dream? Who has the right to dream and who, conversely, is burdened with the nightmare of history? Themes to be considered include: dream-composition and the composition of dreams; narrative vs. lyrical form; the mediation of colonial commodities, like opium or travelogues, as what Nigel Leask calls “psychotropic technology”; artistic autonomy vs. discursive formations of and cultural influences on dream mentation; the yoking of opposites and extremes in the compacted economy of the dream. The literary and critical works discussed are Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of An English Opium-Eater, Charles Dickens’s “An Italian Dream,” Charles Kingsley’s Alton Locke, and Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.
"To Write Like a Dream: Nineteenth-Century Legacies,"
Criticism: Vol. 61
, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol61/iss4/5