An encrypted garden: wordplay in dream formation [Abstract]

Pike, C. D. (2016) An encrypted garden: wordplay in dream formation [Abstract]. International Journal of Dream Research: Abstracts of the 33th Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, 9 (S1). p. 22. ISSN 1866-7953.

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This paper reports how the uncovering of multi-layered, multilingual wordplay in a dream-riddle led the author ona journey of self-understanding and research – from study of a painting by Paul Klee to analysis of Hebrew poetry inthe Song of Songs – that elucidates the role of language in dream formation. Wordplay has been a key element in dream interpretation across time and culture. In calling for a dream theory that assumes a fundamental role for language, Kilroe (2001; 2013) usefully categorises oneiric linguistic phenomena under four headings: (i) dream speech – where language use is part of the overt dream content (including disembodied voices, and languages unfamiliar to dreamer);(ii) tropes – including metaphor, punning, inner speech, and other forms of wordplay, both general and idiosyncratic; (iii)displacement – where reference is made to spatiotemporally remote events (past, present, future), and; (iv) mental experience– where reference is made to unobservable mental states of the dreamer and/or other dream characters.
While including examples of all four categories, this paper focuses on an intriguing case of category (ii) comprising a ‘cryptic crossword clue’-like dream-riddle subsequently found to incorporate multi-levelled anagrammatic and cryptonymic (Abraham and Torok, 1986) wordplay in English and Latin, the latter language and its referents unfamiliar to the dreamer at the time of dreaming. The paper charts the unfolding interpretation and linguistic ‘decoding’ of the dream-riddle in dialogue with the presenter’s waking life and research, and explores the relationship between wordplay and imagery in the original dream and subsequent dreams over ten years apart. It elucidates the dream content’s close connection with the thematic wordplay-imagery of Klee’s painting Insula dulcamara, and how the later uncovering of multiple, mutually compatible layers of wordplay in thedream-riddle unexpectedly linked the dream to the biblical Song of Songs. It shows how this in turn led to discovery of parallels between linguistic-imagistic aspects of the riddle and Hebrew/Latin wordplay in the biblical text, the language and thematic content of which were unknown to the dreamer at the time of dreaming, but which were key to understanding the dream’s overall meaning and resolution. The paper shows how the eventual ‘solution’ to the dream-riddle anticipates and describes the process of arriving at the solution itself and its transformative effect upon the dreamer, highlighting the role of intention as an organising principle, and discusses how the morphology of ancient language systems, the principle of self-reflexivity, and Klee’s investigations of morphogenesis and signification in art (including wordplay), throw light on the origins and activity of linguistic imagination in dreaming.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1001 Parapsychology > BF1048 Hallucinations. Sleep. Dreaming. Visions
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0309 Consciousness. Cognition
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Chris Pike
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 15:28
Last Modified: 15 May 2017 15:30

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00