Dream Interpretation before Freud

History 103A(R.003

Spring 2006
Instructor (text): 
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Fri 10-12
Note time change! This course is also listed as 103B.005

This seminar will explore the tradition of dream interpretation in various ancient and medieval civilizations and will focus on manuals of dream interpretation and the application of their principles as reflected in historiographical works that these civilizations produced. The backdrop of our examination will be the absorption of the Graeco-Roman tradition of dream interpretation by the civilizations that succeeded the Roman empire in the same geographical space. Emphasis will be given not only to the continuity of this tradition, but also to the changes it underwent in order to serve societies with different religions, languages, political systems and social structures. The texts used will mostly be drawn from among the ancient and medieval sources, and will provide us with the opportunity to discuss the difficulties of reading (sometimes between the lines) and understanding primary documents in order to reconstruct the past. Besides a final paper, students will be required to write a one-page assignment almost every week.

All students will be given a basic introduction to the use of the library, both the rare book collection and the new electronic resources. In addition, students planning to take their 101 in the general field of this seminar will be introduced to basic bibliographies in the field and asked to write a draft, non-binding thesis prospectus that includes a list of the primary sources that it would be based on in lieu of one or more of the writing assignments.