Carole Levin


On her book Dreaming the English Renaissance: Politics and Desire in Court and Culture

Cover Interview of March 05, 2009

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Early modern England through a history of dreams.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“Dreams of people in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England allow us to understand how external events intensely penetrated the deepest recesses of the unconscious.  Dreams reflected and interrelated with the most significant political, religious, and cultural values of the time.  […] Through the great concern and discussion English Renaissance people had about their vivid and sometimes emotionally wrenching dreams, we can see how much the interior sense of individual self developed in this period.”

On the second:

“In the 1590s Lady Cromwell treated a poor woman, Alice Samuel, suspected of bewitching some children cruelly.  That night she had a horrifying dream that Samuel had sent a cat that tore off her skin.  We might not take such a dream seriously today.  But this was evidence used at the trial that condemned Alice Samuel to death.”