Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK   Wehr, "Impact of Changes in Nightlength," 283; Wehr, "'Clock for All Seasons,'" 339; Ekirch writes that “rather than originating after "prehistoric times," this transition, the pre-industrial experience of England and other Western societies strongly suggests, occurred very recently”. But Wehr is very clear (P336 'Clock for All Seasons') “Our hominid ancestor, Homo erectus, used caves as shelters and may have used fire as early as 1.5 million years ago (though this date is now controversial). Homo sapiens began to construct artificial dwellings (which could block out the rays of the sun) as early as 45000 years ago, and to make lamps (which could be used to extend the daily period of illumination into the night-time hours) as early as 28,000 years ago.” Therefore the ‘prehistoric night’ described by Wehr disappeared at least 28,000 years ago, at best pre-mesolithic, not as Ekirch contends, ‘pre-industrial’ Joseph Lawson, Letters to the Young on Progress in Pudsey during the Last Sixty Years (Stanningley, Eng., 1887), 73; here The quote is actually on page 54 not as Ekirch gives it as page 73. Ekirch writes that “"Society is now influenced more by facts of art and science than dreams" and superstition” however the direct quote does not mention superstition. “Society is now influenced more by facts of art and science than dreams, random luck, tales of planet rulers, fortune tellers by palmistry, or a capricious Providence”. The passage which deals with a “most serious ans mischievous superstition, everywhere prevalent, was the belief that when a child died, it was the will of the Lord that is should be so” goes on “Local boards insist upon proper ventilation, drainage, and the avoidance of other disease breeding nuisances. The law now steps in and prevents people selling what they like, building such dwellings as they like, making the interest of the many of more importance than the whim or self-interest of the few. Property has now its duties as well as its rights” So this quote is about the benefits of science in keeping children alive against as Lawson terms it “ignorance” it has nothing to do with ‘dreams’ Thomas Middleton, "The Black Book," in The Works of Thomas Middleton, A. H. Bullen, ed., 8 vols. (1885; rpt. edn., New York, 1964), 8: 14 here  “Must my honest wedded punk here, my glory-fat Audry be taken napping, and raised up by the thunder of bill- men. Are we disanulled of our first sleep and cheated of our dreams and fantasies? is there not law too for stealing away a man’s slumbers, as well as for sheets off from hedges?” Note that Audrey is “napping” when he is woken from his first sleep This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. Dotto, Losing Sleep, 36 this is simply a popular science explanation of REM sleep Roger Bastide  "The Sociology of the Dream," in Gustave Von Grunebaum, ed., The Dream and Human Societies (Berkeley, Calif., 1966), 200–01 here It is interesting to note that Nashe writing in 1594 does not share Ekirch’s opinion of the importance of dreams ‘A dreame is nothing els but a bubling scum or froath of the fancie, which the day hath left undigested; or an after feast made of the fragments of idle imaginations’  Page 355 “A Dreame is nothing els but the Eccho of our conceipts in the day” page 356 BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018