Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March 17: Lecture: The Renaissance Interpretation of Dreams

Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French
Princeton University

"Rabelais and the Renaissance Interpretation of Dreams"

Monday, March 17th at 4:00 p.m.
Cathedral of Learning, room 501

In the enormous corpus of classical, medieval and early modern writings
about the interpretation of dreams, the questions of truth and falsehood,
predictability and indeterminacy, are recurring concerns: under what
conditions are nocturnal visions prophetic or deceitful? are they inspired
by God or by the Devil, by longings for certainty or by the power of our
earthly desires? can they tell us something about our own future or are they
simply the product of our fertile imagination? Many early modern books tried
to address these questions in a various ways and different genres. As a
literary critic, Francois Rigolot will turn to Francois Rabelais's fiction,
and analyze the representation of an exemplary dream, which may shed at
least some light in a comic way on a larger issue: the problematic
interpretation of dreams during the Renaissance.

François Rigolot is an authority on stylistics and poetics and on the
literature of the Renaissance. Of his many publications, some of the more
recent include his critical edition of Montaigne's Journal de voyage, based
on a newly discovered manuscript (Presses Universitaires de France, 1992), a
new edition of Les Langages de Rabelais (1996), and Louise Labé Lyonnaise ou
la Renaissance au féminin (Champion, 1997), which addresses the problems of
a middle-class woman writer in the age of humanism. In 2002, he published
two books, one on the concept of "error" before Descartes (L'Erreur de la
Renaissance, published by Editions Champion), and Poésie et Renaissance
(Éditions du Seuil). His critical edition of Sainte-Beuve's Causeries sur
Montaigne was published by Éditions Champion in 2004. He is the recipient of
numerous awards, including the MLA's James Russell Lowell Prize (1990), and
in 2002 he was knighted into the Ordre National du Mérite by President
Jacques Chirac.

An open reception will follow the talk, which is generously co-sponsored by
the Department of French and Italian

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