IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1512: A Dream Come True?: Landscapes of the Imagination

Thursday 4 July 2013, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Marianne O'Doherty, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1512-aPleasure, Terror, and Spatial Aesthetics in Erotic Dream Narratives
(Language: English)
Efthymia Priki, Department of Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies, University of Cyprus, Nicosia
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Language and Literature - Comparative
Paper 1512-bMa'arri's Garden of Earthly Delights: Pleasure and Satire in the Epistle of Forgiveness
(Language: English)
Yael Ben-Israel, Department of General & Comparative Literature, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Semitic
Paper 1512-cArthur's Dream Come True in Arthur of Little Britain: How Symbolic Dreams Come to Life in a Medieval Romance
(Language: English)
Alexandra Costache-Babcinschi, Centre d'Études Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale (CESCM), Université de Poitiers / Universitatea București
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - French or Occitan

Paper -a:
Taking as a starting point the dream narratives of Le Roman de la Rose, Livistros and Rhodamne, and Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, this paper will explore the ways in which landscape functions as a metaphor for the dreamers’ psychological development in their visionary journeys. The sense of pleasure and awe deriving from exploring and describing marvellous dreamscapes intertwines with a sense of bewilderment and threat for the unfamiliar and the unknown. By implementing anthropological (Van Gennep, Turner, Torrance) and psychoanalytical (Jung) theories, this paper will argue that the interchange and contrast between loca amoena and loca terribilia relate to the dreamer’s psychological projections on their imaginary environments and that they signal the stages of an initiatory process toward spiritual and erotic fulfilment.

Paper -b:
Abu al-Alaa al-Ma’arri’s 11th-century satirical tale of a journey to the afterlife, The Epistle of Forgiveness, is a unique work which has been compared to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Its description of Paradise is full of material pleasures: rivers of honey and wine, beautiful houris, leisurely hunts, and other earthly delights. Far from reflecting al-Ma’arri’s own nonconformist religious views, these descriptions, detailed to the point of exaggeration, and studded with poetry quotations and scholarly asides, serve as a satirical device, mocking Islamic traditions regarding Paradise. Through various examples from the text, the paper will examine the imagery of pleasure in al-Ma’arri’s Paradise, and discuss its role as satire.

Paper -c:
Arthur of Little Britain is not a very well known romance nowadays. Still, it was very famous in both England and France during the Middle Ages, and all through the literary history, up to the 19th century. Now that we finally have a modern critical edition of the Lord Berner’s late Middle English translation and that Mme Christine Ferlampin-Acher is working on the French version, we can work on different aspects of this story.

Arthur, a Breton, son of the Duke of Brittany, has a chivalric destiny. It all begins with a dream Arthur makes. Full of symbols, this dream haunts him until his friend and tutor, Gouernar, interprets it. The decision is made: Arthur will fulfill his dream. Fulfilling his dream will prove to be fulfilling his destiny. We will first make an inventory of all the elements in the dream as they appear in the French manuscripts and prints, and in the English print, we will then analyse the symbolism of all the elements and how this is transferred to the reality of Arthur’s adventures. Eventually, we will try to compare Arthur’s dream with dreams in other Arthurian romances. The symbolism of Arthur’s dream is mainly related to mythological animal imagery, but elements of geography and diverse literary symbols are also used. We will put all this in literary, historical, and political perspective.