The Common Dreamscape: A Study of Dream Types in the Writings of Fedor Dostoevskii

James Livingstone


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The works of Fedor Dostoevskii contain some of the most vivid dreaming experiences in all of world literature. Drawing on a broad selection of these, this paper looks to shed light on their significance, attempting an understanding of the crucial functions that the dreams serve, as well as identifying and evaluating the sensations, properties and evocations that come to define the various dream-worlds conjured across Dostoevskii’s fiction. In seeking to explain the extraordinary richness of connections between these worlds, this paper argues for the notion of common dream-space, as characters from different novels appear to inhabit a shared dreamscape, in which they encounter shared images and perceptions, ranging from the subtlety of a single recurring sound to the reproduction of an entire fantasy land. It is the intimate and detailed access that Dostoevskii provides the reader to the minds of his protagonists that gives the novels their highly unusual, intense psychological power. The dreams are central to the emotional suction and immersion that, to this day, remains very distinct to Dostoevskii.


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