A Festschrift for Shoichi Watanabe on his 80 th Birthday
KAZUTOMO KARASAWA The Negative Conceptions of OE dream and their Origin 157
KAZUTOMO KARASAWA The Negative Conceptions of OE Dream and their Origin OE dream is generally known as a joy and a music/noise term meaning ‘joy, gladness, delight, ecstasy, mirth, rejoicing’ and ‘melody, music, song, singing.’1 It is especially prominent as a poetic locution, since it is one of the key words in OE poetry representing joy (at a feast) in a prosperous (aristocratic) society and joy in heaven. Apart from such well-known, dominant meanings, however, it can also mean ‘frenzy, delirium, madness, demonic possession’2 in such a phrase as wod dream in prose works. Considering that it is much more popular as a term for some positive concept,3 its application to such negative concepts seems rather exceptional. In fact, it seems scholars have vaguely regarded them as anomalistic meanings developed in some way from ‘joy’ probably through ‘ecstasy.’4 1 These definitions are taken from Clark Hall (41960). As we shall see below, 2 This definition is taken from the DOE under the heading of dream. According to my calculation, dream is attested only eleven times with this meaning. 3 According to my calculation, OE dream occurs 222 times as a simplex and 76 times as an element of compounds. Among these examples, 287 are those as either a joy or a music/noise term. With three exceptions, where it represents a sorrowful noise or cry raised by dwellers in hell, all of them are basically used in some positive meaning, representing joy or joyous sound, noise, song, music, etc. In...
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