Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK ‘Decline of the Drama’, Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine (Feb. 1838), 113; here Why, other, than the fact that it does not agree with his conception of segmented slumber, does Ekirch believe this is a ‘caricature’? If as tahe passage suggest the difference in timing between Shakespeare’s day ant the middle of the nineteenth century then it would seem somewhat remarkable if ‘segmented sleep’ existed in pre-industrial times and completely contradictory to Ekirch’s description of ‘segmented sleep  that “the auditors of Shakspeare's day” had finished their second sleep at what could have at the latest been midnight. Heaven forbid that we should retrogress to the epoch when the unlettered cit was content to sit out his afternoon in the Globe, to see his Juliet in a lubberly boy, and to accept his impressions of the Capitol or the heath at Forres from the same dingy canvass. Colley Cibber, be it observed, attributes the desertion of the theatres, at the commencement of the eighteenth century, to the late hours of the nobility and gentry, who were beginning to dine at four o'clock. We, of the middle of the nineteenth, have deferred the meal four hours later, and the same complaint is renewed. The fact is, that the hour of representation has kept pace with that of our convivial entertainments; and the auditors of Shakspeare's day had finished their second sleep, at the moment when the audiences of the Queen's Theatre are applauding the conclusion of the ballet. Even the frequenters of the winter theatres “Hear the chimes at midnight,” as they proceed homeward to their habitations. It is not the hour at which the great meal of the day is appointed which interferes with the play houses. It is that dinner is now a brilliant and colloquial entertainment, instead of a mere satisfying of the appetite; and, when two or three intelligent men meet to dine together, previous to repairing to the theatre, not one of them but feels disappointed when the carriage is announced which is to convey them thither, and fix their attention upon the stage. BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018