This essay seeks to make an account of the nature of Thomas Hoccleve's inner life in light of “dream.” Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes and the Series, despite their obvious indebtedness to the patterns of medieval dream vision, never describe formal dreams of the poet. Regarding this problem, I argue that Hoccleve dreams a dream while he is awake: dreme is a figurative notion for him, referring to his benumbed state of mind or “wit.” The insomniac Hoccleve, afflicted with melancholic “thought,” describes his feelings as dull and heavy, and the dullness makes his mind asleep even when he is awake. It is this languid inner condition that he calls dreme. In the Hocclevian dream, the mind is given a fluid image and fails to be captured precisely. Hoccleve develops the dream vision tradition to a paradoxical extreme: while he remains in reality, he reaches a dreamworld with his daydreaming mind.

You do not currently have access to this content.