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Virtual Subjects, Fugitive SelvesFernando Pessoa and his philosophy$
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Jonardon Ganeri

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864684.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Dreams inside Dreams

Dreams inside Dreams

(p.124) 17 Dreams inside Dreams
Virtual Subjects, Fugitive Selves

Jonardon Ganeri

Oxford University Press

Nested dreams, together with their implications for the reality of subjects, are explicitly the theme of a remarkable passage in the third-century BCE Daoist classic, the Zhuangzi, the story of the dreaming butterfly. With the apparatus of Pessoa’s philosophy of self to hand, we can understand this complicated story in a fresh light. Two distinct scenarios are now envisaged, each of which might constitute what it is to ‘emerge’ from the dream. One is that Zhou awakens and recalls that, in the dream, he was the butterfly. The alternative scenario is that, still in the dream, the butterfly falls asleep and dreams that it is Zhuang Zhou. Were all this to be put in terms of heteronymic simulation, Pessoan ‘dreaming’ rather than actual dreaming, it would be an illustration of nested heteronyms and of a rather particular sort. I suggest that we explain the situation by appealing to the idea of an orthonym. The correct thing to say is that the embedded ‘Zhou’ is an orthonym of the dreaming Zhou. This embedded Zhou is the double of the dreaming Zhou and is his shadow self.

Keywords:   nesting, the Zhuangzi, Julio Cortázar, dreams within dreams, orthonym

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