which of Poe's poems are hypnogogic?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
I have to take one poem and analyze according to meter,rhyme,subject matter,symbolism and special effects (trying for one with hypnogogic effect). Does anyone have any suggestions ,or even a translation of what that is? Thanks.
-- Anonymous, April 13, 2001
Hypnogogia is a natural state of consciousness or, more specifically, that variable duration of drowsiness, stupor or trance just preceding sleep or an unconscious state and the similar state just prior to awakening. A body at rest and a non-responsive, or at least, a lethargically responsive mind, to external stimuli generally characterizes a hypnogogic trance even though the subject is self- aware. Often defined as the transition between wakefulness (consciousness) and sleep (unconsciousness), it has less to do with the action of transition than with the state of being conscious.
From an early age, Poe maintained an interest in the Dream State. In addition to his poems, where dreams or visions make up the predominate theme, Poe also wrote an essay for Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for the August 1839 edition titled "An Opinion on Dreams". In this he attempts to discuss his views as it relates to dreams and a possible "... connection with the invisible and eternal world..."
He submits his opinion that man is more than just mind and body, but a "Trinity" of mind, body and soul. Of these three elements of existence, the body is the least important in terms of consciousness. For during the entire transition from wakefulness, through slumber and again to wakefulness, it is the body that is the first to rest and the last to rise. Therefore, in Poe's view, it is the mind and or the soul that is responsible for dreams and visions. Here, he makes the distinction between the former and the latter by his inference that the mind dreams while the soul experiences visions. The delineation between the two is that he believed that, at some point, the mind slumbers while the soul never sleeps. He clarifies by saying that while "... the body often sleeps, the mind occasionally, the soul never...". Of course this raises the question that if the mind sleeps and this is the reason that some dreams cannot be recalled in a conscious state, why can't all visions be recalled without difficulty. He answers this by indicating that because the mind is the link between body and soul and the mind does, occasionally, sleep some visions are never stored within the organ of memory. He ends by postulating that "It is the slumber of the mind and not the soul, therefore, which causes forgetfulness."
Of course Mr. Poe did not have the benefit nor the luxury of reviewing conclusions derived from sleep or sleep deprivation experiments, REM studies and lucid dream analysis to fall back on and he likely never had the opportunity to read up on such things as Beta, Theta, Alpha and Delta brain waves either. Regardless, his comments are of interest in terms of their applicability to his "day job". Perhaps, the poem of Poe's that appears to best meet your criteria is "A Dream Within a Dream". It is a poem that went through numerous revisions until the final version bears little resemblance to the original "Imitation".
I have dispatched a summary of "A Dream Within a Dream" for your review. I hope you find it useful. Incidentally, thank you for the interesting question.
-- Anonymous, April 14, 2001