Sleepwalking, subjectivity and the nervous body in eighteenth-century britainjecs

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Abstract

This article offers an in-depth study of sleepwalking in the long eighteenth century. It explores how and why the physical condition of sleepwalking was conceptually transformed into a modish nervous disorder thatwas central to explorations of the human mind, imagination and personal identity in the final decades of the century. This cultural revaluation of sleepwalking, or 'somnambulism' as it was increasingly termed, is situated within the context of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century medical and philosophical thought surrounding the physical act of sleep and its disorders, and within the cults of sensibility and Romanticism. © 2011 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-323
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Keywords

  • Identity
  • Magnetism
  • Mind
  • Nerves
  • Romanticism
  • Sensibility
  • Sleepwalking
  • Somnambulism

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