English 40-1 - Winter, 2022

Introductory Topics in Literature

Topic: Dream Visions

Class Information

Instructor: Pollard, Courtney
CRN: 23323
Time: MWF 1:10-2:00
Location: 116 Veihmeyer
GE Areas: Writing Experience


ENL 40 - Genre and Dream Visions

This course will take a transhistorical approach in order to explore how genres emerge and change over time. We will take dream visions as our particular focus for this study and consider the extent to which dream literature throughout history either conforms, challenges, or responds to the dream vision genre.

Beginning with Cicero's "The Dream of Scipio" and Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy, we will begin to think about what rhetorical situations give rise to and act as predecessors for the medieval dream vision genre. From there we will examine medieval dream visions and theorize how medieval and contemporary audiences understood these texts as being of a similar kind. We will then read a variety of texts written throughout the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries to examine the ways in which the dream vision genre persists and to consider how writers draw on the dream vision tradition in order to achieve their own speculative ends.

The reading list below is tentative:


"The Dream of Scipio", Cicero
Excerpts from The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius
Excerpts from The Book of the City of Ladies, Christine de Pizan
Parliament of Fowls, Geoffrey Chaucer
A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Select poems, Langston Hughes
Select poems, Audre Lorde
Selections from Carriers of the Dream Wheel
The descent of Alette, Alice Notley