'The Dream' of Bernat Metge / Del Somni d'en Bernat Metge

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Lo Somni (The Dream) is a dream allegory divided into four chapters or books. It was written ca. 1399 and is considered Bernat Metge’s best work. It is extremely innovative within the context of Catalan (and Iberian Peninsular) literature of the 1300’s. It consists of a dialogue between Metge-the-character and several participants (in fact the book is a dialogue between Metge and the Classical and Biblical tradition) on the topics of the immortality of the soul, the essence of religion and the dignity and moral essence of the human being. In addition to using many Classical and medieval literary sources, Lo Somni can be considered one of the first (if not the first) Humanist books to be ever written in the Iberian Peninsula. Metge wrote Lo Somni supposedly while in prison (house arrest?) following a dubious accusation about his involvement in the death of King Joan I. Metge wrote this work as a personal defense to exonerate himself and as an attempt to gain the confidence of the new King Martí l’Humà and his wife Queen María de Luna. Lo Somni ends when Metge-the-character is awaken from his dream. This foundational work also touches upon political themes pertaining to the Crown of Aragon, literary fashion and reception of Italian humanist works at the court, as well as on matters of fashion, cultural customs, taste and style.

Subjects: Theoretical literature & literary studies; Medieval literature & literary studies; Romance literature & literary studies

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