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Terrors of the Night by Louise S. Milne

This volume presents essays on the history of dreams and nightmares, in particular focusing on how these have been visualised; and how and why these visualizations change. Using the concept of dream-culture, the book explores dreams of fear and joy throughout history, examining their context in myth and lived experience through their imagery and their significance in art, literature, magic and religion.

Chapters deal with dreams among the Inuit, the night-riders of Renaissance Europe, the figure of the mermaid-siren, battle madness and shape-shifting, twentieth-century outsider artists and the invention of the modern nightmare, charms and curses from antiquity to the present day. The book draws on a wide range of perspectives from comparative mythology, anthropology, art history and critical theory, to show how people in different times and places have harnessed their dream-culture and used it to address challenges and threats in everyday life. Dream-culture in this sense is also seen as a creative arena, in close conjunction with the paradigms and media of visual art, folk culture and belief in the supernatural.

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