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Paperback | $20.00 Trade | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262600408 | 227 pp. | 5.375 x 8 in | February 2001

The Paradox of Sleep

The Story of Dreaming
Translated by Laurence Garey


Michel Jouvet is perhaps the world's leading sleep and dream researcher. In The Paradox of Sleep, Jouvet takes the reader on a scientific and sociological tour of the history of sleep and dream research.

Jouvet tells the story of a handful of neurobiologists, including himself, who pioneered sleep and dream research in the 1950s. He describes the technical and ideological obstacles they faced and opens his own laboratory to the reader. A key section of the book is Jouvet's discussion of why we dream. After summarizing Freud's theory of dreams, he contrasts it with current neurobiological data. Finally he outlines his own controversial theory about why we dream: to preserve our individuality.

About the Author

Michel Jouvet, a pioneer in sleep research, is Emeritus Professor of Experimental Medicine at the University of Lyon, France. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and holds the Gold Medal of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). He is the author of The Paradox of Sleep: The Story of Dreaming (MIT Press).


"Exceptional. . . . Jouvet is a leader today, as he was 40 years ago,in ideas about paradoxical sleep. He appeals for better understandingof the energetics of the brain as the key to understanding sleep, andleaves us with the intriguing theory that paradoxical sleep is agenetically determined iterative reprogramming mechanism to maintainindividuality. The more the reader brings to it, the better thisbook—like all great books—becomes. —John M. Orem, The Quarterly Review of Biology


"The Paradox of Sleep by Michel Jouvet is written by the man who discovered, 40 years ago, the major physiological signs that define the state of dreaming sleep, which we still use now. Jouvet is not only a man of science, but has a wide intellectual horizon and marked literary gifts. This exciting book (translated from the French) takes us through the labyrinth of research paths into the functions of dreaming, its physiological correlates, and some contemporary disputes about the significance of conscious processes."
Mircea Steriade, Professor, School of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada