The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018
Dream vision (dream allegory)
Dream vision (dream allegory): A type of narrative in which the narrator falls asleep, dreams, and relates the contents of the dream. Dream visions have an allegorical aspect (the narrator may meet figures bearing names like Hope or Remembrance, for instance), hence the generally equivalent term dream allegory. Dream visions were a popular form of storytelling in the Middle Ages; they are less common today.
EXAMPLES: Le roman de la rose (The Romance of the Rose), initially composed by Guillaume de Lorris around 1230 and expanded by Jean de Meung around 1270, and Dante Alighieri’s Divina commedia (The Divine Comedy) (1321) are famous medieval examples. John Keats’s “The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream” (1819) and “La belle dame sans merci” (1820) offer romantic variations on the form. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) exemplify subsequent developments, as does the 1939 movie version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (1900). A more recent movie that experiments with the conventions of the dream vision is Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder (1990). The Nightmare on Elm Street series of “slasher” movies (1984—2003, followed by a remake of the original film in 2010) also toys with many of the allegorical and narrative conventions of the dream vision.