In any place and at any time, the oneiric world, as an individual and collective experience, plays a crucial role in defining shared social and cultural values. As bizarre as it might seem, in ancient China, narratives related to dreams abound in historical texts and persuasive writings, which are supposed to transmit ‘true facts’ and logically organized discourses. Also in lyrical poetry, dreaming and visions attest a considerable growth while forming and fixing a thematic repertoire as the genre develops. This is especially true for the ci 詞, and notably for Li Yu 李煜 (937-978)’s lyrical songs. Both the number of occurrences and a close observation of single verses and stanzas can provide significant insights into Li Yu’s use of the character meng 夢 in his songs. The character’s high frequency, its position in the line and its association with other themes preceding and following the dream-related ones, combined with an analysis of the lyrics as a whole reveal Li Yu’s use of the oneiric not only as a theme but also as a specific structural feature in the construction of the poetic text. This all might offer a new key to the understanding of the 'ci' tradition.
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