Prof. Dr. Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa
German Literature, Galway

Contact Details

Prof. Dr. Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa
German Studies School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
National University of Ireland, Galway

Contact: h.schmidthannisa[at]
Profile cultural dream studies: :

Biographical Note

Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa is a graduate of  the University of Freiburg i.Br. (MA 1984, PhD 1989) and the University of Bayreuth (Habilitation 2000). Before he was appointed Professor of German at Galway in 2005 he was teaching at Universities in Bayreuth, Taegu (South-Korea), Shanghai, Würzburg, and at the University College Cork, Ireland. His research interests include the history of dream and literature from the 18th to the 20th century, German Enlightenment and Romanticism (in particular the writings of Jean Paul, Clemens Brentano, and E.T.A. Hoffmann), historical and intercultural aspects of reading, and media theory.

Dream records as a literary genre

Since the 19th century it became more and more popular to include dream records in diaries and other autobiographical texts. As relevant theories of the Enlightenment did not treat dreams as messages coming from an external source any longer but instead explained them as products of the imagination dreams were considered as manifestations of the dreamers’ individuality and as linked to the dreamer’s biography. However, in Germany it was not before the early 20th century that the dream record became a discrete literary genre. Whereas during the 19th century dreams could only attain the status of “literature” when they were embedded in comprehensive narrative contexts, it was now possible to publish dream records without any contextualisation. Friedrich Huch’s pioneering volume Träume (1904) inspired authors such as Isolde Kurz, Wieland Herzfelde, Walter Benjamin, Rudolf Leonhard and many others to publish their dream records as a form of literature in its own rights. The project explores both the poetology and the history of this genre.