The history and science of dreams
The Oracle of Night makes a resounding case for the mystery, beauty and cognitive importance of dreams. Ribeiro marshals prodigious evidence to bolster his case . . . This book is the culmination of decades of thought and collaborative work. It's also the expression of remarkable, if sometimes all-over-the-map, scholarship, drawing on history, literature, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, sociology and psychology, among other disciplines . . . His lyrical account is aided by Daniel Hahn's beautiful translation from the Portuguese . . . Delightful . . . You can't help being awed and enchanted by the wonder with which Ribeiro approaches his subject, by the depth of his knowledge and passion. * The New York Times * A comprehensive consideration of the sleeping mind . . . [Ribeiro] offers a capacious examination of the phenomenon of dreaming. The author draws on biology, chemistry, neurophysiology, anthropology, mythology, history, literature, biography, and art-along with myriad examples of dream narratives-to create a rich history of the human mind . . . A stimulating and informative overview. * Kirkus * [Ribeiro] explores hypotheses about the evolutionary value of sleep to humans, presenting a fascinating analysis of the debate about the relationship between sleep and cognitive ability . . . concluding, among other things, that nap rooms would be a valuable addition to school environments. * Publishers Weekly * A groundbreaking history of the human mind told through our experience of dreams-from the earliest accounts to current scientific findings-and the essential role of dreams in the formation of who we are and the world we have made. * Next Big Idea Club * "A sweeping account as tangled and chaotic-and fascinating-as the dreams themselves . . . It reinfuses the dreamscape with beauty, mystery and significance . . . The Oracle of Night takes a breakneck journey through history, from cave paintings and the ancient Greeks to Celtic myths, Egyptian pharaohs, Gilgamesh and Julius Caesar. The text, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn, moves fluidly from systemic historiography to guesswork and lighthearted extrapolation . . . The result is a curiously hybridized book, at times playful, at times intensely scientific . . . Poetic and visceral." * The Wall Street Journal *
SIDARTA RIBEIRO is the founder and first director of the Brain Institute of Federal University or Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, where he currently is Professor of Neuroscience. He received a Ph.D in Animal Behavior from Rockefeller University. His research topics encompass memory, sleep and dreams, neuroplasticity, symbolic competence in in non-human animals, computational psychiatry, and psychedelics.