An Historical View of Dreams and the Ways to Direct Them; Practical Observations by Marie-Jean-Leon Lecoq, le Marquis d’Hervey-Saint-Denys1


  • C.M. Den Blanken
  • E.J.G. Meijer


In 1867, Librairie d’Amyot at Paris published a book entitled Les Rêves et les Moyens de les Diriger; Observations pratiques (trans.: Dreams and the Ways to Direct Them; Practical Observations.) Henceforth we will refer to it as Les Rêves. Originally the work appeared anonymously but eventually its authorship was attributed to the famous French scientist, le Marquis d’Hervey-Saint-Denys. With its publication, for the first time in Western history, a detailed personal report on lucid dreaming over a 32-year period was available. Among other things, in this book, Saint-Denys describes his interest in dreams from the age of thirteen, how he developed lucidity in them, and how he partially mastered the direction of his dreams. Almost every book on lucid dreams refers to Saint-Denys’ work (e.g. Patricia Garfield (1974), Celia Green (1968), and Stephen LaBerge (1985, 1988)). Although we may consider the author of Les Rêves the father of modern lucid dream research, very little information about the book or its author has been available. Thus the purpose of this article is to present new information as a result of a search for the original publication of Les Rêves.






Part V: Historical Perspectives