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An Interview with Natalya Lusty and Helen Groth, authors of ‘Dreams and Modernity’

In this insightful interview, Natalya Lusty and Helen Groth, authors of Dreams and Modernity: A Cultural History discuss their vision for the book and their aim to 'resituate the dream as a distinctively modern object of inquiry'. 

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What was your vision upon starting Dreams and Modernity and do you believe you have achieved your goals?

Our vision was to write an accessible engaging history of the dream that tracked the formative transitions in writing on dreams from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth-century across the domains of science, esthetics and popular culture. Given the explosion of speculation about dreams in this crucial period and the many ways it informed representations and interrogations of the psychic, imaginative and intimate life of the modern subject, this was a challenging enterprise, but one which we believe we have successfully shaped into a readable informative cultural history.

What do you hope resonates with the reader?

We hope that readers of this book will glean a richer and more complex understanding of the significance of the dream as a key to understanding the history of the modern subject. Our aim was to be strategically selective, rather than encyclopedically comprehensive, providing detailed case studies of particularly fertile moments in the history of dream writing in this period, such as the protean theorization of the unconscious in the mid-nineteenth-century, the archive of telepathic dreams collected by the Society for Psychical Research, the popular embrace of Freud’s seminal dream book and the Mass Observation dream archive.

Who are the intended audience?

Dreams and Modernity is an interdisciplinary cultural history and will appeal to scholars and upper level undergraduates across the disciplines of history, modernist studies, Victorian Studies and cultural studies. The rich case studies will also be valuable primary and secondary readings for Masters modules in the disciplines of cultural history and cultural studies.

What makes this book different from similar titles on the market?

There is no other title currently on the market that examines the dream as a seminal object of investigation across the nineteenth and early twentieth century. This period is crucial to understanding the intensification and cross-fertilization of ideas about dreams and the migration of these ideas across psychological, philosophical, aesthetic and popular domains. The book’s expansive timeframe coupled with detailed case studies provides an instructive model of innovative cultural history.

Can you summarize the book’s key message?

The key message of the book is to resituate the dream as a distinctively modern object of inquiry and as a fundamental aspect of identity and culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
 

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Find out more about Dreams and Modernity: A Cultural History...

VIEW INSIDE: Follow this link to read the first chapter online


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Related Products

  1. Dreams and Modernity

    A Cultural History

    By Natalya Lusty, Helen Groth

    Series: Directions in Cultural History

    Dreams and Modernity: A Cultural History explores the dream as a distinctively modern object of inquiry and as a fundamental aspect of identity and culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. While dreams have been a sustained object of fascination from the ancient world to the present,...

    Published August 21st 2013 by Routledge