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Dreaming the Global University

My favourite moment of A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes at the end of Act V, Scene I, when, after the lovers leave the stage to ‘recount [their] dreams’ on the way to the palace, Bottom enters and tries to recount his ‘dream’. Not quite believing it himself, he falters in finding the words to describe it: ‘Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was— and methought I had— but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had.’ Sometimes this moment is played for laughs, and sometimes poignantly, as Bottom’s words do evoke the fragile ephemerality of the dream that disappears even as you recall it. But then Shakespeare returns us to comic absurdity with the brilliant line ‘it shall be called Bottom's Dream, because it hath no bottom.’ All the characters assume their experience was no more than a dream. As the audience, we know better. In life, as in the play, sometimes reality can seem like a dream. Did I ever imagine that I’d find myself in …

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