Sleep in Early Modern England Sasha Handley

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
15 Aug 2016
ISBN:
9780300220391
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
296 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
25 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World

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.

More about this title

Five Facts About Sleep, on the YaleBooks blog


Sasha Handley is senior lecturer in early modern history at the University of Manchester. Her previous book is Visions of an Unseen World: Ghost Beliefs and Ghost Stories in Eighteenth-Century England. She lives in Manchester, UK.

“This book contains several increasingly important strands of historical thought: the histories of material objects, the body, the emotions and the senses. Handley’s materially and emotionally rich account of early modern sleep shows that the early modern bedchamber was a space where these histories intertwined.”—John Gallagher, London Review of Books


“Handley’s illuminating work documents a major evolution in our conscious understanding of the unconscious. The judges commented in particular on the book’s novelty, and on the rich and thoroughly researched study of an important part of everyday life to which historians have paid little attention. The readers described the book as a significant contribution to social and cultural history, and an interesting and thought-provoking volume.”—Judges, Social History Society 


“Sleep, as this fascinating book demonstrates, is an extremely rich field.” —Tessa Storey, Journal of Social History


SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOLFSON PRIZE AND LONGMAN HISTORY TODAY AWARD 2017, AND WINNER OF THE 2017 SOCIAL HISTORY SOCIETY PRIZE.


'Sasha Handley’s Sleep in Early Modern England is sewn together like a fine quilt. Each chapter on slumber invites another - Handley and the subject of sleep make good bedfellows. She guides the reader through the material culture of the early modern bedroom, detailing truckle beds, linen sheets, and other stuff that dreams were dreamt on. She bolsters our understanding of how, where and when people slept in the early modern period, and also of various other tidbits, such as of the role of pre-sleep prayers and the use of dimity bedcovers. We also encounter the nasties which lurked: the bedbugs and the rough sheets for the servants, made of coarse linen and marked with an "S". An enjoyable book.' - Emily Cockayne, author of Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England



“A book of sheer originality and novelty… Handley tackles an almost completely neglected subject with disarming modesty”—Judges, Wolfson History Prize 


SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOLFSON PRIZE AND LONGMAN HISTORY TODAY AWARD 2017, AND WINNER OF THE 2017 SOCIAL HISTORY SOCIETY PRIZE.


“A welcome contribution that fills a gap in the literature . . . a well-presented and authoritative review of the subject that is laced with fascinating titbits of information embedded in a scholarly monograph.”—John M.T. Ford, British Society of Medical Historians Review


“An admirable addition to the existing corpus.”— Mark Jones, Albion, March 2017


“This book contains several increasingly important strands of historical thought: the histories of material objects, the body, the emotions and the senses. Handley’s materially and emotionally rich account of early modern sleep shows that the early modern bedchamber was a space where these histories intertwined.”—John Gallagher, London Review of Books