“Levin's book displays a fascinating curiosity cabinet of images—from asparagus to Anne Boleyn—that visited the dreams of English men and women during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Borne along by Levin’s lively and anecdotal prose, we encounter the major players in British political history, from Richard III to James I, who appear alongside familiar figures in the history of science, including Robert Burton and Nicholas Culpeper. Dreaming the Renaissance will remain a manicule, urging close scrutiny of passages in our sources that might otherwise be dismissed as sensationalism or rhetorical embellishment.”—Journal of Modern History
“In Dreaming the English Renaissance: Politics and Desire in Court and Culture, Carole Levin attempts to trace the varied meanings of dreams in early modern England. She has succeeded admirably in achieving that goal. Levin’s treatment is rich in detail drawn from an amazing variety of primary sources, such as learned tomes on dreams, plays, poems, diaries, letters, ballads, pamphlets and broadsheets, as well as on a substantial number of recent scholarly works concerning the life and times of early modern England. This is quite a good book on English dreams and dreamers of the early modern era.”—Discoveries
“Levin’s work, as a combination of archival research, historiography, literary criticism, and cultural studies, takes part in a broad spectrum of scholarly conversations.”—The Sixteenth Century Journal
"Dreaming the English Renaissance is cultural history at its very best, providing unusual access into the hopes and fears of early modern men and women. A deeply rewarding read for anyone interested in the turbulent social, political, and religious world of Tudor and Stuart England."
--James Shapiro, Columbia University
"How often is a deeply researched, densely scholarly book also a page-turner? Carole Levin's mesmerizing account begins with Richard Haydock, the 'sleeping preacher' at the court of King James. Haydock analogized dreams to 'a stone cast into the water, from which arises presently a circle, which instantly begets another, and yet a third.' Just so, historical import and new understandings ripple from the remarkable dreams, nightmares, premonitions, and visions Levin has rediscovered. Her careful analysis of unconventional sources gives us a Renaissance that is at once more wonderfully strange and more intimately knowable than we have ever had before.
--Lena Cowen Orlin, Georgetown University
"Carole Levin's latest text brings us into the fluid, illusory, confusing, and conflicting world of early modern dreams, dreamers, and dream theory. Levin's cultural study is accessible to those unfamiliar with the politics and social customs of early modern Europe but is still interesting to those immersed in political, literary, and historical considerations. Her narrative and argument often move in a fluid, dreamlike state, but, ultimately, these dreams teach us about the fears, hopes, desires, and concerns of early modern people on both personal and grand scales."
--Colleen E. Kennedy, Journal of British Studies Book Review