Tolkein's Future Vision of Lucid Dreaming

November 19, 2014 11:19 PM

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Dreams play a significant role in The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein's multi-part fantasy story written in the first half of the 20th century. The dream elements become muted in Peter Jackson's film adaptation, but in the novels they serve as an important source of insight for the characters. According to Curt Hoffman in Wings over Numenor: Lucid Dreaming in the Writing of J.R.R. Tolkein, the dreams in the stories were modeled in many cases after Tolkein's own dream experiences. For instance, the Middle Earth legend of Numenor, a western land that was destroyed by a vast ocean wave, apparently derives from Tolkein's personal "Atlantis Complex" and his recurrent dreams of huge, all-consuming waves.

Hoffman's chapter appears in Lucid Dreaming: New Perspectives on Consciousness in Sleep, which Ryan Hurd and I edited for ABC-Clio. Hoffman explains that the most remarkable story Tolkein ever wrote about dreams was also the only story he ever wrote set in the future, not in the past. Titled "The No...

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