The Dream as an Event in the Work of Richard Weiner

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Josef Hrdlička


The Czech poet and novelist Richard Weiner (1884–1937) is considered to be one of the most important Czech writers of the first half of the 20th century. His early work was influenced by Expressionism, while in the later period it showed influences of the French avant – garde, especially Surrealism and Le Grad Jeu group, with which he was personally associated. The dream and the contemplation of the dream permeate Weiner's work from its beginnings, but central to his work is his prose Lazebník: Poetika (Feldsher: A Poetics) in which he puts forward an original theory of the dream and defines himself against several different influences. Firstly, the researches of the Marquis d'Hervey de Saint – Denys, then surrealist poetics, especially in the texts of André Breton. In addition, the influence of psychoanalytic theories is evident in his work, and also of the work of Marcel Proust. Weiner treats the dream as a radically different element of reality. The dream, he argues, cannot be interpreted or fixed because these activities cancel or reduce what is essential to the dream. The specific autonomy of the dream appears in two aspects that could be described as ontological – existential. As a reality in its own right, the dream is completely independent of the human being, it comes to a dreamer (repeatedly) without a possibility to be influenced; and the dream as an event, not as a coded message or sign, on the other hand, is determinative for the destiny of the human. In this paper I will attempt to outline Weiner's "theory" of the dream, to show the role of the dream in his work and to place it in a theoretical context.


Published: Nov 14, 2022

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