La strada dell’immaginazione porta al centro della realtà. Sogni medievali nell’inconscio contemporaneo. = The Path of Imagination Leads to the Center of Reality. Medieval Dreams in the Modern-Day Subconscious


Abstract


The Path of Imagination Leads to the Center of Reality. Medieval Dreams in the Modern-Day Subconscious. The Somniale Danielis is a manual to dreams and their interpretations, the most popular of its kind in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. It consists of a list of dream symbols arranged in an alphabetical order, and interpreted as portending something good or evil for a dreamer. The system established both quick and easy access to terms, symbols, and their meanings, and functioned as a convenient guide to the interpretation of dreams. It serves, too, as an important tool for understanding medieval literary as well as other dreams, and for identifying and describing traditional dream images. The most remarkable fact about this dream dictionary is that the red thread of dream interpretation remains pretty much unchanged from antiquity to today. This is the very reason why it is used coherently by different poets and scientists in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. Indeed, interpreting one’s own visions was thus a way to position human beings at the center of the universe, after centuries of confinement at the peripheries of creation. The more evident change in the history of dream interpretation occurred at the beginning of twentieth century, when Sigmund Freud started working on dreams considered as a potential tool to investigate the deepest part of our personality and our past, and not as a possible prediction of the future. But even after the birth of psychoanalysis, popular dream-books continued to be considered the best way to interpret dreams.

Keywords: Somniale Danielis; Dreams, Literature; Middle Ages; Dante; Boccaccio; Renaissance; Psychoanalysis; Leonardo da Vinci

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