The close relation between dreams
emerges from the very definition of the former: “successions” (Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English 2016) or “series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep” (Oxford Dictionary 2015 [emphasis added]). Such successions have a specific semiotic capacity, which means that they are charged with particular meanings, therefore inevitably requiring—or at least intensely inviting—interpretation
. From Freud
’s model—according to which dreams
give expression to prior, unconscious dream thoughts (Freud
in The interpretation
—Standard Edition. Hogarth Press, London, 1900)—to contemporary collective imaginaries, such a semiotic force has been foregrounded and variously explored, revealing relevant aspects related to dreaming (e.g. the role of memory, the importance of the perceptual level, the negotiation between the unconscious and the censorship of consciousness, the processes of spatialisation and temporalisation, etc.). Building on existing literature and the semiotic analysis of relevant case studies, this paper analyses the processes of meaning-making and the narrative logics underlying dreams
and their collective representations, making particular reference to Greimas’ models (Greimas in Sémantique structurale: recherche de method. Larousse, Paris, 1966; Greimas in Du sens, essais sémiotiques. Éditions du Seuil, Paris, 1970; Greimas in Maupassant: la sémiotique du texte, exercices pratiques. Éditions du Seuil, Paris, 1975; Greimas in Du sens 2. Éditions du Seuil, Paris, 1983).