Dreams in European Literature (3286 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


Other Resources

Since antiquity dreams have fascinated people of all cultural backgrounds and have not only been proven relevant for the future of empires and religions, but also served as central motifs in the development of the world's literary masterpieces. In the classical period, the category of predictive dreams was divided into prophetic visions (Greek horamata), advice from a god (chrematismata) and symbolic dreams (oneiroi). With some fluctuation between these distinctions, as a general rule this classification still holds in medieval times (see for example John of Salisbury's distinctions between visio, oraculum, somnium, 12th century).

Prophetic visions play a significant role in the h…

Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Dreams in European Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 March 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=5776, accessed 28 September 2022.]

5776 Dreams in European Literature 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.