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.

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.

“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.

“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