Origins of Women's English Poetry -or- Entering Medieval Dreams

Virtual Architecture of Women's Dreams -or- Ode on Melancholy 

At the beginning of their book "virtual architecture" by Guiliano Zampi and Conway Lloyd Morgan state; "The dream of walking into a painting is a common fancy - finding out what the Mona Lisa would look like in profile, for example, or moving around the interior landscape of a painting by Ernst or Magritte. Imagine getting within the walls of the enchanted castle in Claude's famous canvas, with its façade of huge windows but no doors, and the hint of further courtyards and towers behind it." 

Dreams much like landscape art in fact allow us to enter virtual landscapes. As more 3D computer graphic software becomes available, the virtual environment and literary history of reality and our dreams can be explored in form of "virtual Earth globes". Wilhelm Dilthey staying at a friend's castle dreamt of Raphael's "School of Athens", which came to life while he was sleeping, read "Wilhelm Dilthey -or- The School of Athens".

Here is a dream from an "English literature" student, who seems to be poetically making medieval Swiss history come back to life; 

April, 23 English literature student 

I am in a bright yellow dress, seems to be in medieval period, and am fleeing from guards with halberds on top of a castle of some sort. I feel like I know I am scared, but like i am watching from third person, distant. I am running across the castellations bare foot.  I realize they are going to catch up to me so I just jump from the top. Instead of hitting the ground I sink beneath it, and I am laying on my back looking up through the dirt, as if I am buried. Through the dirt I see daisies growing that match my dress exactly, and I know I am dead. I feel apathetic, like it is a very old sorrow. Here is the strange part...the entire dream was narrated like a poem. I could only remember a few stanzas when I awoke, and forgot by the time I attempted to write it down. 

Poetic Origins of the English Imagination -or- The Patron Saint of Libraries 

We are informed, that the oldest surviving English text is from the Christian poet Caedmon. Peter Ackroyd "Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination", sees Caedmon's Christian hymn, as a poem that he learnt to sing in a dream. This "miraculous" dream vision; "heralded a great change in the nature of the English imagination...." 

One of the English poets who followed in Caedmon's footsteps was Geoffrey Chauser, who wrote numerous "dream vision" stories including, "The Legend of Good Women". The Legend of Good Women remembers the legendary stories of ten virtuous woman. Tennyson would later use the theme for his own poem "A Dream of a Fair Woman". The daisies as the flower of oneiric choice are a dead give away of the Chaucerian origins of the dream.

What also caught my attention in your dream were the "guards with halberds". The "halberd" helps to narrow down the historical literary setting of your dream and perhaps even provides a clue to who, the historical character found in your dream is. And while you say that you are experiencing the dream as an uninvolved "third person", the dream's ego (I) language says something different, you say "I feel apathetic, like it is a very old sorrow." Your feminine "third person" dream reads more like your feminine mind that has been emotionally dissociated from her body. The "very old sorrow" that you say you poetically feel and the daisies on your grave, can also perhaps be traced back to Keats "Ode on Melancholy". 

The halberd, is a weapon that was used by the Swiss army, six to seven hundred years ago. It is still the ceremonial weapon of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Saint Wiborada of St. Gall was the first woman Christian martyr canonized by the Vatican. The artistic image of her, in the theatre above has her holding a "halberd" and a book. Wiborada is known as the patron Saint of libraries and librarians. Perhaps in this sense your dream reads more like feminist "comparative literature".

The artistic image "Sorrow" in the theatre above, is by Vincent van Gogh.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.