Lovers’ Dreams – the Path to Heaven or Hell. The Janus-Face of Dreams and their Discursive Context in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Das Gelübde and Prinzessin Brambilla
Koenigshausen and Neumann
Reason for embargo
Under temporary indefinite embargo pending publisher permission.
Starting from the observation that the metaphorical use of the term ›dream‹/›dreamer‹ is evaluated in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s (1776–1822) work in diametrically opposed ways, this essay explores the anthropological assumptions and narratological functions of two sleep dreams: In Hoffmann’s Das Gelübde (The Vow; 1817) a dream is central in bringing about the protagonist’s early death, whereas in Prinzessin Brambilla (Princess Brambilla; 1820) it facilitates the hero’s happy transformation. The essay argues that Hoffmann’s dreams owe as much to Kant’s concept of judgement as to G.H. Schubert’s notion of a cosmic link between the dreamer and their beloved. The accuracy of the protagonists’ insight into the relationship between dream and reality is shown to be the key to understanding both texts, but the narratological function of the dream varies between providing insight for the reader into the protagonists’ errors, and constituting the starting point for the protagonists themselves acquiring insight.
In: Theorizing the Dream / Savoirs et théories du rêve, edited by B. Dieterle and M. Engel. Due to be published in December 2017
Place of publication