International Conference hosted by the DFG-funded Research Training Group »European Dream- Cultures« (GRK 2021)

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Dr. John Deathridge (King’s College London): Wagnertraum(a): 421 recorded dreams of a composer from Germany

Birth and death are situated at or beyond the borders of life; as such, they occur too early or too late to be perceived and recorded as authentic experiences. However, dreams – fictionalized, imagined, and performed – can open up experiential spaces for these extreme physical transitions.

The mysterious elements of dreams – their disregard for the physical laws of time and space, and for cultural models of identity, coherence and logic, are magnified in dreams of the beginning and end of life. Simultaneously, the artistic depiction of such experience is particularly challenging: memories and stories of dreams have to find ways and means to transform that which is »elsewhere« and unimaginable into something palpable and conveyable. From the antiquity to the present day we can find representations of dreams – whether in literary texts, paintings, music or in film – that focus on the limitations and boundaries of human life.

Bearing in mind the goal of pursuing a literary, cultural and media history of dreams and dreaming, the international conference »Dreams of Birth and Death«, hosted by the DFG-funded Research Training Group »European Dream Cultures«, is dedicated to the phenomena of dreamed birth and death, related discourses and artistic realisations.

The conference will take place at Saarland University from March, 21-23, 2018. Conference languages are German, English and French. The symposium is free to attend but registration is required (traumkulturen(at)