Call for Papers: International Conference “Dream and Reality in Tang Poetry”

Trier, Germany
10-11 Oct 2020
Deadline: 15th Jul 2020

The dream is one of the most specific and culturally important phenomena of the human psyche. It has been a concern to humans across numerous cultures for thousands of years. Initially, interpreting the meaning of dreams was considered to be the most important perspective. Today, many believe that research into dream formation and function is more relevant, specifically for medical research. But still none of the related questions can be answered with certainty. In addition to natural sciences, the cultural sciences are working on an approach to this topic.

The relationship between dreams and the real world looms especially large in the literary treatment of the mentioned phenomenon. This can be seen in both European and Chinese literature. The most prominent example of literary dream description in Chinese cultural history is the “butterfly dream” in the Zhuangzi. In lyrical terms, early examples can already be found in the Shijing and the Chuci. Since the Han Dynasty, if not earlier, the dream has been frequently used as a motif and theme in Chinese poetry. Hence, it is not surprising that the relationship between dreams and reality is also quite formative for literature, especially for poetry during the Tang Dynasty.

Nonetheless, more research on these topics remains a desideratum. Therefore, our planned conference will examine the following questions which have rarely been addressed in the field of Sinology:

  • How is the relationship between dreams and reality depicted in the literature of the Tang Dynasty?
  • How are dreams and reality described and used in literary works?
  • Which literary topics are used to process the relationship between dreams and reality?
  • What value is given to the real world in contrast to the dream, and vice versa, what value is given to the dream in contrast to the real world?
  • What dream definitions and terms are used in Tang literature? What is the relationship between dream descriptions and societal reality?

This conference is organised by the Institute of Sinology at Trier University and the Institute for Sinology and East Asian Studies at the University of Münster. The conference will be held at Trier University (Universitätsring 15, 54296 Trier, Germany) on 10-11 October 2020. The conference languages will be German, English and Chinese (English and Chinese are preferred.)

If you wish to participate in the conference, please send the topic of your talk and abstract (max. 300 words) to the following email address: / The abstract should be written either in German, English or Chinese and sent in PDF format. The deadline for abstracts is 15 July 2020. For current information, visit our homepage:

If you require a letter of invitation to apply for a visa, please send your abstract earlier so that we can send you an official letter of invitation in time for your visa application.

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