Immanence and Transcendence in the Aesthetic Representation of Sleep from Antiquity to Modern Times

Despite the fact that our knowledge has increased with the help of somnology about how one third of our life is spent at night, sleeping remains a mysterious phenomenon. Its cultural coding is versatile: in classical antiquity sleeping was considered to be connected to death, Christian theology saw it as a result of the fall, while the romantics affirmed it as a state of unity with nature that precedes individuality.

Contrary to the common perception which sees sleeping primarily as a way of resting, literary pieces and artworks have the possibility to enter into people's sleep and dreams and metaphorize, dramatize the narrative about the state of sleeping. Several pieces describe a specific threshold experience, which - despite its seeming passivity - is eventful indeed, and this border crossing is dramatized, transcendentalized by 'unexplainable', thus 'unknown' terms. The project wishes to complement the study of sleep by researching the metaphorization of sleeping, and wishes to expand on the findings of the previous years, among others, the research of Simon Morgan Wortham (2013) History of Philosophy, Sonja Kinzler (2011) History of Science,  Petra Strobl (2005) Study of Antiquity, and wishes to connect the research of paradigmatic sleep narratives with the history of religion and science. 

Affiliated Persons

Photograph of Prof. Dr. Eva Kocziszky

Prof. Dr. Eva Kocziszky

Individual Researcher