To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
Readers of this commonplace book that accompanied a Folger exhibition will discover much that is familiar and much that is strange. Like their sixteenth- and seventeenth-century counterparts, today's sleepers dream of famous people; they consider physiological and psychological explanations for their dreams; and they seek pharmacological solutions for their insomnia. Most importantly, perhaps, modern dreamers share with their predecessors a fascination with dream interpretation. All these similarities notwithstanding, the entries in this commonplace book make abundantly plain just how different the early modern understanding of the physiology and psychology of the dreaming body is from our own. In registering everything from the influence of bodily humors to the emphasis on regulating dream content through gemstones or lapwing's blood, the extracts in To Sleep, Perchance to Dream offer what we hope you will agree is an intriguing window into the beliefs, concerns, and fantasies of men and women in early modern England.
Carole Levin and Garrett Sulivan, Curators; Steven Galbraith and Heather Wolfe, Exhibition Consultants; Karen Kettnich, Research Assistant; Caryn Lazzuri, Exhibitions Manager.
2009, Paperback, 92 pages, illustrations.