At the Borders of Sleep is a unique exploration of the
connections between literature and the liminal states between
waking and sleeping-from falling asleep and waking up, to
drowsiness and insomnia, to states in which sleeping and waking
mix. Delving into philosophy as well as literature, Peter Schwenger
investigates the threshold between waking and sleeping as an
important and productive state between the forced march of rational
thought and the oblivion of unconsciousness.
While examining literary representations of the various states
between waking and sleeping, At the Borders of Sleep also
analyzes how writers and readers alike draw on and enter into these
states. To do so Schwenger reads a wide range of authors for whom
the borders of sleep are crucial, including Marcel Proust, Stephen
King, Paul Valéry, Fernando Pessoa, Franz Kafka, Giorgio de
Chirico, Virginia Woolf, Philippe Sollers, and Robert Irwin.
Considering drowsiness, insomnia, and waking up, he looks at such
subjects as the hypnagogic state, the experience of reading and why
it is different from full consciousness, the relationships between
insomnia and writing and why insomnia is often a source of creative
insight, and the persistence of liminal elements in waking thought.
A final chapter focuses on literature that blurs dream and waking
life, giving special attention to experimental writing.
Ultimately arguing that, taking place on the edges of
consciousness, both the reading and writing of literature are
liminal experiences, At the Borders of Sleep suggests new
ways to think about the nature of literature and
Subjects: Language & Literature
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.