Sponsored by the William J. Cooper Honors Program in English.
Light refreshments available beginning at 6 p.m.
In the Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, Freud presented his path-breaking claim that dreams are highly meaningful psychic acts that come from the unconscious and that elude the control of consciousness. In arguing that dreams provide access to aspects of the self and the experience of the world that the self cannot know, Freud inaugurated the twentieth-century’s fascination with the power of dreams as a privileged medium for contesting the unity of the self and the linearity of narrative time. Moreover, in writing about dreams, Freud was obliged to write a dream-like book. Like Freud, many other modern and contemporary writers have written about dreams in dream-like ways.
Dr. Elissa Marder, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Emory University, will look at brief selections from works by Baudelaire, Proust, Walter Benjamin and Hélène Cixous in light of Freud’s insights to show how dreams instigate action, challenge traditional ways of writing history, and contest the coherent unity of the self as a fiction. In all cases, dreams open up poetic alternatives to life as we think we know it.