Juliet Flower MacCannell (University of California-Irvine, USA)

Claude Fretz (Sun Yat-sen University, China)

Rose Hsiu-li Juan (National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan)


This special issue of The Wenshan Review, scheduled to be published in June 2024, seeks essays of 6,000 to 10,000 words (including notes and bibliography) that explore the value and function of dream narratives. Literary, cultural, philosophical, and aesthetic traditions have long recognized the dream as a way of rearranging our lives symbolically and imaginarily, as a means of finding our way through to a different situation than the one we are in, and as a means of forming or reforming our identities. This special issue aims therefore to investigate how culturally shaped narratives of dreams may constitute, or lead to, solutions and/or dissolutions at the individual as well as at the collective and cultural level.

Through narration, through processes of telling and retelling, and through the construction of meaning via relations to listeners, readers, and interpreters, dreams can break out of personal or collective dilemmas and connect to such important tasks as that of solving seemingly insoluble problems. This can be seen in Native American cultures, for example, where dreams are collectively discussed as to their concrete meaning and their foretelling of the future. In psychoanalysis, moreover, the structure of attempting to discover needed alterations in the patient’s situation (and in their very being) follows the same process of a collective discussion between the doctor and the analysand.

In art, culture, and literature, important dreams abound in narratives from antiquity to the present day. For Saint Patrick and for Chaucer’s poetic personas, dreams offer access to higher truths and concretize into waking reality, with the dreamer waking up to find that he has been provided with the answer or solution to a problem. The subject of dreams as solutions or dissolutions is also explored in works as diverse as the plays of Shakespeare, the Bible, Homer’s Iliad, novels, such as Tolstoi’s War and Peace, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Orwell’s 1984, the writings of Louise Erdrich, and the achievements of Surrealism, such as those of André Breton.

We would ask our contributors also to explore how the dream can be an agent of dissolution, of breaking down even our cultural situation to open a new situation and allow it to emerge. There can be both positive and negative values in how a dream might dissolve the dreamer’s sense of identity or alter their sense of themselves as belonging to a certain status or category of being. When Martin Luther King shared his dream with the world it set off a collective quest to move his country into another state of political and cultural existence for its multi-racial democracy. But a more distressing outcome always remains a possibility, too: Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, waking up from anxious dreams, becomes a cockroach.

We are seeking papers that view dream narratives as they appear in fictional literature worldwide and in cultural practices from the collective level (e.g. Native American uses of the dream) to the individual level (e.g. private or creative reflections on dreams; dream analysis of patients).   The issue is open to a wide range of methodologies, and we welcome submissions from scholars, practitioners, and artists of all theoretical persuasions active in the disciplines of art, theatre, film, media, music, and literary studies, as well as history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and other related fields.


Suggested topics for this special issue include but are not limited to:

  • Dream narratives in literatures of all cultures, including indigenous ones, that enable solutions or dissolutions
  • Transcultural or intercultural studies of dream narratives that involve solving dilemmas or dissolving borderlines
  • Narratives of dreams or nightmares in social political and cultural political discourses (such as postcolonialism)
  • Dream narratives in traditional visual arts, in film and television, and in newer genres, such as manga and video games
  • Studies of dream interpretation manuals or philosophical traditions of the enigma of dreaming
  • Dreams that narrate alterations of being in spirituality and religion
  • Dissolutions of time and space, including prophetic imagination
  • The narration of dreams in the performing arts


Please follow the submission guidelines detailed on The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture website ( and submit your articles online( by 15 June 2023.

The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture, founded in 1995, is an open-access peer-reviewed journal of literary and cultural studies, and one of the most reputable academic journals in Taiwan. It offers a unique space to bring together scholars from around the world to address important issues and debates in a wide range of research areas. It is currently indexed in: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI); SCOPUS; EBSCOhost; MLA International Bibliography; Taiwan Humanities Citation Index (THCI).


We welcome informal enquiries and proposals for co-authored contributions. Please contact the co-editors: Juliet Flower MacCannell (, Claude Fretz (, and Rose Hsiu-li Juan (


Juliet F. MacCannell is Professor Emerita of University of California at Irvine and Honorary Fellow of London University’s Institute for Advanced Study. She was co-chair of the California Psychoanalytic Circle from 2000-2017, and editor of its journal, (a): the journal of culture and the unconscious. She is also co-creator (with Dean MacCannell) of twenty- two art installations at SOMArts Gallery’s curated annual Day of the Dead exhibition (San Francisco: 1998-2020). Writing extensively on literature, art, architecture, and philosophy as well as psychoanalysis, MacCannell is the author of over 90 articles and several books, including The Hysteric’s Guide To The Future Female Subject (2000), The Regime of the Brother (1991), and Figuring Lacan: Criticism & The Cultural Unconscious (1986 and 2014--reprinted), and co-author of The Time of the Sign with Dean MacCannell (1982). She has edited a number of volumes for the Irvine Humanities Series, including The Other Perspective in Gender and Culture, Thinking Bodies, and was contributing editor for Critical Dictionary of Feminism and Psychoanalysis (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992). Her most recent publications include essays on “The End(s) of Violence,” “The Echo of the Signifier in the Body: Drive at Work Today,” “Anxiety: Genuine and Spurious,” “Why Culture? A Psychoanalytic Speculation,” and “Refashioning Jouissance for the Age of the Imaginary.”  Her essay re-evaluating her 1991 work, “The Regime of the Brother Today,” is to appear (in German translation) in a two-volume collection, Post-Oedipale Gesellschaft (ed. Tove Soiland, Marie Frühauf und Anna Hartmann, Vienna: Turia + Kant). 


Claude Fretz  is Associate Professor of Shakespeare studies at Sun Yat-sen University (China). He is also Fellow of the research center “European Dream-Cultures” at Saarland University (Germany), which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). His primary research interest and area of publication lies with the dramatic works of Shakespeare in their Elizabethan and Jacobean contexts, and with their classical, medieval, and early modern sources and influences. He is also interested in Shakespeare’s global afterlives (especially adaptations), Restoration theatre, and interdisciplinary explorations of cultures of dreaming and sleeping. Fretz is the author of Dreams, Sleep, and Shakespeare’s Genres (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and co-editor of Performing Restoration Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press, 2023). He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on Shakespeare, early modern literature, representations of dreams and sleep in the Renaissance, modern theatre practice, and Restoration drama. His work has appeared in journals including Shakespeare, Critical Survey, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture 1660-1700, Cahiers Elisabéthains, Etudes Epistémè, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, and others.


Rose Hsiu-li Juan is Professor Emerita in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan. She was 2020 Mercator Fellow of the Research TrainingGroup: European Dream-Cultures at Saarland University funded by DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, German Research Foundation) and a visiting professor at University of British Columbia (2012, Canada). She is a board member of English and American Literature Association and The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment in Taiwan. She was also Deputy Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Director of the Humanities Center, and Chairperson of DFLL, NCHU. Her research interests include indigenous literature and culture, ecocriticism, ecological humanities, and modern fiction. Her publications appear in Chung-Wai Literary Quarterly, Review of English and American Literature, The Wenshan Review, publications of ICLA Congresses, and in the books of the ICLA research committee of Dream Culture, Mapping Native North American Literatures: Reflections on Multiculturalism (Taiwan, coeditor), An Introduction to Ecoliterature (Taiwan), and Ecocriticism in Taiwan: Identity, Environment, and the Arts (Lexington Books).