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A riveting look at how the early modern world revolutionized sleep and its relation to body, mind, soul, and society Drawing on diverse archival sources and material artifacts, Handley reveals that the way we sleep is as dependent on culture as it is on biological and environmental factors. After 1660 the accepted notion that sleepers lay at the mercy of natural forces and supernatural agents was challenged by new medical thinking about sleep’s relationship to the nervous system. This breakthrough coincided with radical changes shaping everything from sleeping hours to bedchambers. Handley’s illuminating work documents a major evolution in our conscious understanding of the unconscious.
Dreams in Early Modern England offers an in-depth exploration of the variety of different ways in which early modern people understood and interpreted dreams, from medical explanations to political, religious or supernatural associations. Through examining how dreams were discussed and presented in a range of diffrerent texts, including both published works and private notes and diaries, this book highlights the many coexisting strands of thought that surrounded dreams in early modern England. Most significantly, it places early modern perceptions of dreams within the social context of the period through an evaluation of how they were shaped by key events of the time, such as the Reformation and the English Civil Wars. The chapters also explore contemporary experiences and ideas of dreams in relation to dream divination, religious visions, sleep, nightmares and sleep disorders. This book will be of great value to students and academics with an interest in dreams and the understanding of dreams, sleep and nightmares in early modern English society.
Geographies of Embodiment in Early Modern England gathers essays from prominent scholars of English Renaissance literature and history who have made substantial contributions to the study of early modern embodiment, historical phenomenology, affect, cognition, memory, and natural philosophy. It provides new interpretations of the geographic dimensions of early modern embodiment, emphasizing the transactional and dynamic aspects of the relationship between body and world. The geographies of embodiment encompass both cognitive processes and cosmic environments, and inner emotional states as well as affective landscapes. Rather than always being territorialized onto individual bodies, ideas about early modern embodiment are varied both in their scope and in terms of their representation. Reflecting this variety, this volume offers up a range of inquiries into how early modern writers accounted for the exchanges between the microcosm and macrocosm. It engages with Gail Kern Paster's groundbreaking scholarship on embodiment, humoralism, the passions, and historical phenomenology throughout, and offers new readings of Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Thomas Nashe, John Milton, and others. Contributions consider the epistemiologies of navigation and cartography, the significance of geohumoralism, the ethics of self-mastery, theories of early modern cosmology, the construction of place memory, and perceptions of an animate spirit world.
Draws upon both medical and literary research to show the preoccupation of Shakespeare and his contemporaries with drugs and poisons in their dramas.
For the people of early modern England, the dividing line between the natural and supernatural worlds was both negotiable and porous - particularly when it came to issues of authority. Without a precise separation between ‘science’ and ‘magic’ the realm of the supernatural was a contested one, that could be used both to bolster and challenge various forms of authority and the exercise of power in early modern England. In order to better understand these issues, this volume addresses a range of questions regarding the ways in which ideas, beliefs and constructions of the supernatural threatened and conflicted with authority, as well as how the power of the supernatural could be used by authorities (monarchical, religious, legal or familial) to reinforce established social norms. Drawing upon a range of historical, literary and dramatic texts the collection reveals intersecting early modern anxieties in relation to the supernatural, issues of control and the exercise of power at different levels of society, from the upper echelons of power at court to local and domestic spaces, and in a range of publication contexts - manuscript sources, printed prose texts and the early modern stage. Divided into three sections - ‘Magic at Court’, ‘Performance, Text and Language’ and ‘Witchcraft, the Devil and the Body’ - the volume offers a broad cultural approach to the subject that reflects current research by a range of early modern scholars from the disciplines of history and literature. By bringing scholars into an interdisciplinary dialogue, the case studies presented here generate fresh insights within and between disciplines and different methodologies and approaches, which are mutually illuminating.
Illness in childhood was common in early modern England. Hannah Newton asks how sick children were perceived and treated by doctors and laypeople, examines the family's experience, and takes the original perspective of sick children themselves. She provides rare and intimate insights into the experiences of sickness, pain, and death.
For the Puritan separatists of seventeenth-century New England, "godliness," as manifested by the body, was the sign of election, and the body, with its material demands and metaphorical significance, became the axis upon which all colonial activity and religious meaning turned. Drawing on literature, documents, and critical studies of embodiment as practiced in the New England colonies, Martha L. Finch launches a fascinating investigation into the scientific, theological, and cultural conceptions of corporeality at a pivotal moment in Anglo-Protestant history. Not only were settlers forced to interact bodily with native populations and other "new world" communities, they also fought starvation and illness; were whipped, branded, hanged, and murdered; sang, prayed, and preached; engaged in sexual relations; and were baptized according to their faith. All these activities shaped the colonists' understanding of their existence and the godly principles of their young society. Finch focuses specifically on Plymouth Colony and those who endeavored to make visible what they believed to be God's divine will. Quakers, Indians, and others challenged these beliefs, and the constant struggle to survive, build cohesive communities, and regulate behavior forced further adjustments. Merging theological, medical, and other positions on corporeality with testimonies on colonial life, Finch brilliantly complicates our encounter with early Puritan New England.

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