Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions: The Early Modern Atlantic World


In Europe and North and South America during the early modern period, people believed that their dreams might be, variously, messages from God, the machinations of demons, visits from the dead, or visions of the future. Interpreting their dreams in much the same ways as their ancient and medieval forebears had done?and often using the dream-guides their predecessors had written?dreamers rejoiced in heralds of good fortune and consulted physicians, clerics, or practitioners of magic when their visions waxed ...

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In Europe and North and South America during the early modern period, people believed that their dreams might be, variously, messages from God, the machinations of demons, visits from the dead, or visions of the future. Interpreting their dreams in much the same ways as their ancient and medieval forebears had done—and often using the dream-guides their predecessors had written—dreamers rejoiced in heralds of good fortune and consulted physicians, clerics, or practitioners of magic when their visions waxed ominous. Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions traces the role of dreams and related visionary experiences in the cultures within the Atlantic world from the late thirteenth to early seventeenth centuries, examining an era of cultural encounters and transitions through this unique lens.

In the wake of Reformation-era battles over religious authority and colonial expansion into Asia, Africa, and the Americas, questions about truth and knowledge became particularly urgent and debate over the meaning and reliability of dreams became all the more relevant. Exploring both indigenous and European methods of understanding dream phenomena, this volume argues that visions were central to struggles over spiritual and political authority. Featuring eleven original essays, Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions explores the ways in which reports and interpretations of dreams played a significant role in reflecting cultural shifts and structuring historic change.

Contributors: Emma Anderson, Mary Baine Campbell, Luis Corteguera, Matthew Dennis, Carla Gerona, María V Jordán, Luís Filipe Silvério Lima, Phyllis Mack, Ann Marie Plane, Andrew Redden, Janine Rivière, Leslie Tuttle, Anthony F. C. Wallace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Offering what is arguably the first comparative examination of dreams, prophecies, and visions in the early modern Atlantic world, this path-breaking volume is truly without peer. Starting with Anthony F. C. Wallace's excellent prologue, its individual essays explore the complex and often conflicting somatic cultures of both natives and Europeans with particular emphasis on the political and religious uses of dreams on both sides of the Atlantic, their place in the conquest and conversion of the New World, together with the role of dreams, nightmares included, in the construction of the early modern self. All told, this important collection is must reading not only for historians, but also pyschologists and pyschoanalysts, and for that matter anyone—and who isn't?—interested in the complex, often disturbing, but always fascinating and revealing character of dreams."—Richard L. Kagan, Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812245042
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/3/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,414,696
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Marie Plane is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Colonial Intimacies: Indian Marriage in Early New England. Leslie Tuttle is Associate Professor of History at the University of Kansas and the author of Conceiving the Old Regime: Pronatalism and the Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern France. Anthony F. C. Wallace is University Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania and author of several distinguished books and many articles. Known for his pioneering work in medical anthropology, particularly the history of revitalization movements, Wallace lives on the border of the Tuscarora Reservation in western New York, where he began his fieldwork over sixty years ago. He has made major contributions to several distinct subfields in history and anthropology, but in Native American studies he is perhaps best known for his work Death and Rebirth of the Seneca.
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Table of Contents

Foreword. Xanadu: Dreams of the Dark Side of Paradise
—Anthony F. C. Wallace

Introduction: The Literatures of Dreaming
—Ann Marie Plane and Leslie Tuttle

Chapter 1. The Inner Eye: Early Modern Dreaming and Disembodied Sight
—Mary Baine Campbell
Chapter 2. Demons of Desire or Symptoms of Disease? Medical Theories and Popular Experiences of the "Nightmare" in Premodern England
—Janine Rivière
Chapter 3. Competition and Confirmation in the Iberian Prophetic Community: The 1589 Invasion of Portugal in the Dreams of Lucrecia de León
—María V. Jordán
Chapter 4. The Peasant Who Went to Hell: Dreams and Visions in Early Modern Spain
—Luís R. Corteguer
Chapter 5. Dreams and Prophecies: The Fifth Empire of Father Antonio Vieira and Messianic Visions of the Bragança Dynasty in Seventeenth-Century Portugal and Brazil
—Luís Filipe Silvério Lima (trans. Anna Luisa Geselbracht)

Chapter 6. Flying Like an Eagle: Franciscan and Caddo Dreams and Visions
—Carla Gerona
Chapter 7. Dream-Visions and Divine Truth in Early Modern Hispanic America
—Andrew Redden
Chapter 8. French Jesuits and Indian Dreams in Seventeenth-Century New France
—Leslie Tuttle
Chapter 9. "My Spirit Found a Unity with This Holy Man": A Nun's Visions and the Negotiation of Pain and Power in Seventeenth-Century New France
—Emma Anderson

Chapter 10. The Unbounded Self: Dreaming and Identity in the British Enlightenment
—Phyllis Mack
Chapter 11. Visions of Handsome Lake: Seneca Dreams, Prophecy, and the Second Great Awakening
—Matthew Dennis

Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors

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