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  • Deformities of Nature:Sleepwalking and Non-Conscious States of Mind in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain

This article examines the didactic appropriation of sleepwalking reports in late eighteenth-century Britain in pedagogical treatises, conduct books, and children's literature. It examines how and why reports of sleepwalkers were used to edify young minds and in so doing traces a critical shift in understandings of sleepwalkers, which were transformed from preternatural wonders to deformities of nature that exemplified the dangerous consequences of irrational, unregulated bodies and minds. This new role was predicated on new medical and philosophical understandings of sleepwalking and on the prioritisation of developmental psychology by pedagogues and philosophers.


Sleepwalking, Sleep, Pedagogy, Children'S Literature, Somnambulism

A young man of a cholerick constitution lying asleep upon his bed, rose up thence on the sudden, took a sword, opened the doors, and muttering much to himself went into the street, where he quarrelled alone, and fancying that he was in fight with his enemies, he made divers passes, till at length he fell down, and through an unhappy slip of his sword, he gave himself a dangerous wound upon the breast. Hereupon being awaked and affrighted, and dreading lest such his night-walkings might at some time or other create him as great dangers, he sent for me to be his physician, and was accordingly cured.1

This account, extracted from a medical treatise of Lisbon-born physician Abraham Zacuto Lusitano, was presented to an anglophone readership by Coventry vicar and poet Nathaniel Wanley. Wanley published the episode in 1678, alongside a number of additional accounts of sleepwalkers drawn from eminent historians, philosophers, and physicians in his anthology of natural prodigies The Wonders of the Little World; or, A General History of Man. Wanley's intention in writing this lengthy compendium was to [End Page 401] advance knowledge by displaying a fulsome spectrum of human capabilities and defects. The virtues and vices that Wanley surveyed ranged from the cultivation of intellectual sensibilities such as wisdom and prudence, to the dangers resulting from physical deformities and sensory defects. The sleepwalkers on display in his text exhibited extraordinary intellectual capabilities on occasion, yet the most striking accounts in his collection recounted the violent and even murderous deeds that others committed while in this perplexing state.

Wanley's compendium proved especially popular in the mid-to-late eighteenth century. The work was republished in six new editions between 1760 and 1796, when the public appetite for consuming accounts of sleepwalkers was voracious. In late eighteenth-century Britain, the sleepwalker wandered out of the medical book and onto the pages of pedagogical treatises, conduct books, courtship narratives, and children's literature. This article examines how and why reports of sleepwalkers were used to edify the minds of young boys and girls in these years. In so doing, it traces a critical yet neglected shift in understandings of sleepwalkers, who were transformed from preternatural wonders, principally embedded within discourses of Christian morality, to deformities of nature that revealed the dangerous consequences of irrational and unregulated bodies and minds. This transformation allowed reports of sleepwalkers to be appropriated in support of programs of social and educational reform that prized self-control, moral virtue, and good citizenship. These orderly principles were the very antithesis of the wild and violent conduct displayed by many of Nathaniel Wanley's sleepwalkers, whose unrestrained activities were seized upon for didactic purposes. Indeed, the editor that revived Wanley's work for a new audience in 1774 declared that his purpose in doing so was to "promote virtue" among his curious young readers and to enable them to discover "the odiousness of vice" through these accounts, which imparted both pleasure and profit.2 The sensibilities surrounding sleepwalking reports had thus shifted decisively by the close of the eighteenth century.

The revised job description of the sleepwalker within pedagogical literature was predicated on the fusion of two separate but critical developments. The first was the growing influence of new medical and philosophical understandings of sleepwalking that fortified naturalistic explanations of this sleep disorder and located its origins to defects within the brain and nervous system. The second was the prioritization of developmental psychology by pedagogues and philosophers who strove to guide [End Page 402] impressionable young minds to the path of virtue by careful regulation of their social environments. Ambitions to reform children's early development and learning spread across a spectrum of middle-class pedagogues, radical dissenters, and philosophers who prioritized education as the principal means of producing good citizens. Definitions of citizenship and virtue were intensely debated, but these writers nevertheless shared a common interest in children and young adults as the central protagonists within their divergent programs of social and religious reform. Scholars have documented the growth of formal educational provision, the increased availability, circulation, and commercialization of children's books, and the revised content of this diverse body of literature in the eighteenth century. Attention has likewise focused on the objectives of key individuals within the reform process such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Sarah Trimmer, and William Godwin.3 Far less attention has been paid, however, to the pivotal characters within this literature and to its increasingly medicalized nature.

This article examines the prominence and meaning of the naturalized sleepwalker within this body of literature. I argue that the non-conscious activities of sleepwalkers became critical pedagogical tools for managing youthful bodies, minds, and behaviors in a transformative phase of social and educational reform. The admittance of sleepwalkers into a sensitive body of didactic literature relied on the pervasive influence of medicalized vocabularies of sleepwalking, or somnambulism, as it came to be defined. Sleepwalking occupied a unique place within the genera of sleep disorders that physicians defined as "neurological" disorders, whose origins were precisely pinpointed within the brain. The concept of the mind as an organic natural organ, whose operations were principally shaped by bodily processes, was implicit in explanations of this condition. Mechanistic models of sleepwalking identified this condition as one that arose from defects within the human body and that shaped the workings of the imagination.4 It was in this context that the outrageous transgressions committed by [End Page 403] many sleepwalkers were transformed from preternatural wonders into dangerous deformities of nature, which required both cure and caution.5 The process whereby sleepwalkers were demonized as dangerous figures of excess and yet appropriated as didactic exemplars of corrupt moral virtue highlights a critical period of change in the ambitions of educational reformers and the techniques that they employed to transform the affective sensibilities of children and young adults. Sleepwalking reports were seized on to curb excessive stimulation of the passions and imagination in the young, and to inculcate a set of affective norms that prized restraint and moral virtue.

Naturalized physiologies of sleepwalking were increasingly acceptable to pedagogues who rejected the use of magical escapism in children's literature and aimed to fix youthful minds on enticing wonders of the natural world that were infused with didactic meanings. Accounts of sleepwalkers in medical treatises, scientific magazines, and periodicals were framed to explore pressing questions about the relationship between the mind, body, and soul, and about the ambiguous nature of personal identity and moral responsibility in different states of consciousness.6 These concerns translated into literature for children and young adults in which the sleepwalker dramatized the dangers of unregulated bodies and untamed imaginations. Reports of sleepwalkers became curious cautionary tales to instruct youths about virtuous deportment and conduct, about moral virtue and responsibility, and about the desired relationship between individuals and social environments. Close examination of these reports gives critical insight into the motivations of children's writers, but more importantly into the tastes and expectations of young readers. The careful appropriation of sleepwalking reports offered a unique blend of moral instruction and entertainment simultaneously designed to stimulate youthful imaginations and to warn them of the ruinous consequences that might ensue from an untamed and [End Page 404] undisciplined mind. This heady mixture offers an important challenge to recent accounts that chart the decline of allegorical symbolism in children's books and educational treatises.7 The article begins by outlining medical and philosophical classifications of sleepwalking as a deformity of nature, before going on to evaluate the wider cultural influence of these classifications through a detailed case study of the sleepwalker Cyrillo Padovano, who inspired fear and fascination in equal measure. It then evaluates the use of sleepwalking reports in educational treatises, courtship narratives, novels, and other didactic publications aimed at children and young adults.


Medical and philosophical explorations of the sleepwalking state offered a critical foundation for pedagogical expositions of this condition, which can be plotted on a spectrum from light-hearted and entertaining narratives to disturbing explorations of the human psyche. These accounts were underpinned by classifications of sleepwalking as an independent disorder of the brain and nervous system. The nature, cause, and degree of interaction between body and brain in accounts of sleepwalkers, or "dormiens," as they were often termed, were forcefully debated among medical practitioners and philosophers from the late twelfth century. This condition, which had formerly been categorized as a symptom of other illnesses, began to be defined as an independent pathological condition that was linked to the brain's activity. Influential medical writers and philosophers such as Urso of Salerno, the self-confessed sleepwalker and alchemist Taddeo Alderotti, Albertus Magnus of Cologne, and Montpellier-based French physician Bernard de Gordon evaluated the likely interplay of body, mind, and soul in the sleepwalker's activities. These writers were prompted to rethink the metaphysical and physiological dimensions by which sleepwalkers were thought to operate by the influx of Arabic medical treatises and the widespread circulation of Aristotle's influential treatise De somno et vigilia.8 The precise mechanisms by which the senses, passions, and imagination were engaged in the sleepwalking state nevertheless remained highly [End Page 405] contested. These explanations, moreover, do not appear to have extended beyond a narrow intellectual elite and they also vied for legitimacy alongside influential Augustinian understandings of disorderly non-conscious states that identified the corruption of the Christian soul as their principal cause, aligned sleepwalkers with revenants, and prioritized prophetic or divinely inspired sleep and dream states.

Organic explanations of sleepwalking in the eighteenth century were distinguished by their widespread influence and systematic application within and beyond a narrow medical elite, and by their precise foundation on the anatomical investigations of Dr. Thomas Willis. Willis, Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at Oxford and Fellow of the Royal Society, coined the term "neurology" to describe the complex interactions of brain, nerves, and body that were precisely described and illustrated in his most influential works, Cerebri anatome: Cui accessit nervorum description et usus (1664), Pathologiae cerebri, et nervosi generic specimen (1667), and De anima brutorum quae homine vitalis ac sensitiva est (1672). Willis revealed the neurological origins of sleepwalking by mapping the blood's circulatory paths between the body and the medulla oblongata—the part of the brain that he identified as the origin of sleep disorders. Sleepwalking, and other sleep disorders, now offered a means of establishing the organic processes of the mind and a way of mapping its paths of activity.

Natural and supernatural explanations often coexisted in wondrous accounts of extraordinary sleep and dream states that circulated in cheap print, in which these states were frequently framed as sites of spiritual revelation.9 The elision of physical and spiritual causes of sleepwalking were similarly materialized in William Shakespeare's characterization of Lady Macbeth. Her nocturnal wanderings symbolized a divine punishment for her murderous earthly intrigues as well as the corruption of her Christian soul.10 Thomas Willis, however, explicitly rejected such explanations of sleepwalking and insisted on the physiological basis of this condition.

Willis separated sacred and profane explanations when he observed that sleepwalkers "move, see, and speak as a consequence of the movement of the spirits from the medulla oblongata through the nerves to the sensory [End Page 406] organs, while the spirits in the cerebral cortex are resting."11 Willis believed that force of habit, not otherworldly forces, drove sleepwalkers to move and act in familiar ways to their ordinary waking activities. Willis's explication of a brutish soul that acted independently of the superior rational soul further supported his mechanistic model of sleepwalking.12 He presented his anatomical investigations and conclusions on this subject in his Oxford lectures, which were transcribed in the notebooks of young medical student John Locke. Willis's principles bore a strong resemblance to Locke's later insistence that non-conscious mental states implied a decoupling of personal identity and moral responsibility: this was a foundational principle of Locke's sensational philosophy of mind that he set out in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Locke's influential definition of personal identity, and indeed of moral accountability, was founded on the retention of conscious thought and memory: sleepwalking interrupted both of these processes.

The influential botanist and physician Erasmus Darwin further developed natural explications of sleepwalking. Darwin, whose work was heavily influenced by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, described sleepwalking as a "formidable disease" that was comparable to a state of delirium because the power of volition was compromised and the sleepwalker rendered incapable of rational reflection.13 French naturalist and mathematician Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, advanced similarly important insights. Buffon's influential encyclopedia of the natural world was first published in Britain as Natural History, General and Particular in 1780. This work employed the dualistic model of the mind suggested by Thomas Willis's De anima brutorum by insisting that the rational mind did not intervene in dream-like states, or in cases of sleepwalking. These episodes were instead triggered by a "purely animal reminiscence" stimulated by the senses, rather than by the memory or real ideas. Buffon was thus highly skeptical of claims that sleepwalkers revealed some kind of hidden genius:

I am, however, far from believing that somnambulists are really occupied with ideas: The mind seems to take no part in their [End Page 407] actions; for, though they go about and return, they act without reflection or knowledge of their situation. They are neither conscious of the dangers nor inconveniencies which accompany their expeditions. The animal faculties are alone employed, and not even the whole of them. A somnambulist, therefore, is in a more stupid state than that of an idiot.14

Buffon's protestations were likely directed against those people who insisted that the mind and body were not mere automata in liminal states of consciousness. A number of Romantic poets, writers, and painters insisted that sleepwalking represented an extension of subjectivity, rather than a dissolution of it, in part to dilute the influence of overtly mechanistic explanations of human action that were central to the associational and sensationalist psychological theories of John Locke and David Hartley.15 Hartley in particular focused on the deficiencies of reason implicit in non-conscious states that influenced educational theorists such as Catherine Macaulay Graham. In her Letters on Education (1790) Macaulay Graham judged it imperative that the sensitive minds of children "should be kept in a state of tranquility" to inculcate virtue and rational thought and to avoid those disorders of the mind in which the passions were thrown into dangerous tumults.16 Buffon's comments thus typified the efforts of a wide range of physicians and philosophers who claimed sleepwalkers as objects of scrutiny within natural history and used them to forge new classifications of the natural order by showcasing the destructive potential of a malfunctioning body and brain. The naturalized sleepwalker was not exiled to the margins of philosophical inquiry like other categories of wondrous phenomena that were denigrated as vulgar curiosities by the late eighteenth century. Instead the sleepwalker's job description was redefined to serve new and useful purposes—namely, to stimulate awareness of the unpredictable and potentially fatal aspects of the human psyche that required urgent repression.17 The physiological naturalization of sleepwalkers nevertheless [End Page 408] required a concomitant transformation of affective responses to them—a transformation that favored caution and revulsion rather than wonder or reverence.

A wide range of publications, from scientific magazines to entertaining compendia, documented the artistic and intellectual skills that sleepwalkers displayed when their imaginations were unfettered by the mundane distractions of daily life. Their assured movements suggested that sleepwalkers were improved versions of their waking selves. These characteristics, moreover, indicated an acute and refined arrangement of the nerves; this quality was highly prized in polite society and closely linked to fashionable representations of sleepwalking as a modish disease of the nerves.18 An excited tone of marvel and celebration accompanied reports of sleepwalkers that were influenced by the cult of sensibility. Every Man Entertained; or, Select Histories (1756) was a compendium of reports of people judged to be "eminently distinguish'd" by deeds undertaken in non-conscious states of mind. The book's editors declared their joint purpose "to blend together Amusement and Instruction" and they drew heavily on Nathaniel Wanley's Wonders of the Little World in the chapter dedicated to "Persons who have walk'd about and perform'd strange Things in their Sleep." This collection presented reports of sleepwalkers from across Britain and Europe who performed daring feats of physical and mental dexterity. The accounts were short and entertaining but a substantial footnote explained the physiological causes of sleepwalking and firmly linked this condition to a modish excess of sensibility. The lengthiest report in the collection was dedicated to a professor of poetry who was able to compose his verse more perfectly in his sleepwalking state than he could when awake.19 Romantic poets, writers, and artists similarly drew upon neurological explanations of sleepwalking to claim this condition as a manifestation of interiority that [End Page 409] revealed the hidden depths of the artistic, creative imagination. This celebratory tone was notably lacking, however, in pedagogical accounts of sleepwalking that framed this condition as a dangerous deformity that could bring shame and ignominy upon its sufferers and impede the progressive enlightenment of the social organism and its citizens.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy of education and citizenship, which was founded on the cultivation of a unified and authentic self, was set out i n E´ mile, ou de l'e´ducation(1762), which was translated and published in English as Emilius; or, An Essay on Education(1763). Rousseau's pupil, E´ mile, was purposely isolated from civilized society until he reached adulthood to allow his natural instincts to develop without corruption and to ensure that his imagination was not overstimulated. The pleasures of the imagination could lead to intellectual refinement, but Rousseau believed that when corrupted by extreme excitements they were the root of human misery. Drawing on John Locke's concept of the infant's mind as a tabula rasa, Rousseau allowed his pupil to read only one text during his youth and that under the careful supervision of his instructor. This text was Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe(1719), which introduced E´ mile to the idea of man in a state of nature who was focused solely on what he experienced directly in nature. Crusoe, a mariner from the city of York, was shipwrecked on an uninhabited island off the coast of America, where he lived in isolation for twenty-eight years. Crusoe offered a model of self-reliance that Rousseau recommended to his pupil, whom he wished to be unencumbered by acquisitive desire or by the escapist and corrupting fantasies of imaginary places, peoples, and lands encouraged by some children's literature.

The figure of the sleepwalker also proved a useful support for Rousseau's philosophy of education and citizenship, which was published in various guises across Britain in at least twenty-one editions between 1763 and 1799. The sleepwalker was an anti-hero for Rousseau—a fragmented individual whose natural consciousness and rationality had been overcome by unrestrained passions of the imagination.20 For Rousseau, sleepwalking was [End Page 410] a dangerous symptom of a wild imagination that had been overstimulated by a licentious social environment. Rousseau thus aligned sleepwalking with ignorance, rather than genius, and he believed, moreover, that this condition and other nervous disorders were most likely to befall young, polite citizens who were acculturated to habits of "reading, solitude, and leisure" combined with "an effeminate and sedentary life." This view was affirmed in medical explications of sleepwalking, in individual case histories of sleepwalkers, and in the anxious expressions of Rousseau's fellow philosophers in France and Britain, who sought to restrain the dangerous excesses of the mind's faculties by encouraging physical and mental self-discipline.21

Rousseau's understanding of the interrelationship of bodily dysfunction with disorders of the brain and nerves provided a physiological foundation for his pedagogical system, in which he prized the virtues of sound, moderate sleep for keeping body, brain, and moral virtue in good health. Rousseau recommended that girls and boys should be engaged in practical manual labor to keep the body healthy and to restrain the mind's natural excesses. In this he echoed the views of Je´roˆme (Hieronymus David) Gaubius, professor of medicine and chemistry at the University of Leiden, who insisted on careful management of bodily habits—especially sleeping habits—to optimize the mind's rational faculties.22 Emile was only exposed to polite society to refine his sensibility and taste when his natural instincts were sufficiently robust to resist corruption.

Governing those passions that led the youthful imagination into excess was likewise the chief concern of George Wright, author of The Young Moralist(1782), which provided its readers with a compendium of allegorical essays intended to procure moral virtue and wisdom in "the young and [End Page 411] tender minds of the rising generation" that were "too frequently poisoned by the noxious ingredients, which modern novels, romances, and such like publications, are principally made up of." Wright judged that firm regulation of the imagination through studied exercise of the passions was essential for "our felicity in this world, and in some respect also in the next."23 The will to intellectual improvement was admirable as long as it did not compromise virtue. The excesses of the imagination exemplified by the disorderly sleepwalker thus became a muse for explications of moral citizenship, selfhood, and comportment. Both Rousseau and Wright presented the figure of the sleepwalker as a dramatic warning against unrestrained youthful habits, which was a prevalent theme within pedagogical treatises that were increasingly shaped by medical understandings of sleepwalking.

Depictions of the naturalized yet deformed figure of the sleepwalker within diverse genres of print and visual culture reached an apogee in Charles Brockden Brown's novel Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799). The first British edition of the novel was published in London in 1803 and it represented the most intimate psychological exploration of the sleepwalking mind to date. The novel's central protagonist and narrator was Edgar Huntly, who recounted his dogged pursuit of a mysterious sleepwalker whom he believed to be an Irish servant named Clithero Edny. Edgar suspected that the sleepwalker was responsible for the murder of his friend Waldegrave, who had been shot with a pistol. Edgar's investigations propelled him into a series of bizarre and bloody encounters with Native Americans and even with a hungry panther, yet it was not until the novel's final pages that the reader was made aware that Edgar had experienced these seemingly realistic scenes while he himself was sleepwalking. This literary technique was Brown's attempt to understand the association of ideas that guided the sleepwalker's actions and it allowed him to explore the psychological distinction between conscious and non-conscious states of mind and its implications for questions of citizenship and moral accountability.

Brown's interest in sleepwalking was firmly grounded in his encounters with materialist psychology. He was a member of the Friendly Club, an intellectual circle that met in New York City to discuss literature and philosophical works from Europe and America. In 1799 the club established the Monthly Magazine and American Review, of which Brown became the editor. Erasmus Darwin's explorations of sleep and dream states were founda-tional to Brown's work. Darwin corresponded with fellow physician Elihu Hubbard Smith, who was a driving force within the Friendly Club and a [End Page 412] close friend of Brown who had a powerful influence on his writing. In Edgar Huntly, Brown drew directly on Darwin's explanations of sleepwalking in his influential medical work Zoonomia; or, The Laws of Organic Life (1794–96). Brown was the first novelist to imagine himself into the mind of a sleepwalker and to narrate the action of the novel through the sleepwalker's experience of the world. Such a "memoir" was impossible to produce in real life, given the memory loss that sleepwalking induced. Alongside Brown's interest in European medical philosophies of sleepwalking, his work may well have owed a debt to the cautionary didacticism of European educational philosophies. In common with many pedagogues, Brown presented this condition as a dangerous psychological state produced by a debased social environment. Brown's sleepwalkers were depicted in acts of bestial savagery—including murder and cannibalism—that were liberated from moral accountability or conscious reflection. This monstrous sleepwalker was the very antithesis of the ideal independent citizen envisaged by Rousseau, who would be able to withstand the corrupting influences of civil society. In Brown's own context, his novel served as a powerful critique of the social ills of early America.24

Brown's work may have drawn inspiration from earlier British reports that represented sleepwalkers as cautionary exemplars of immoderate habits, deformed bodies, and unrestrained imaginations. He actively sought real-life reports of sleepwalkers from his intellectual circle and from the readers of the Philadelphia-based Weekly Magazine that he used in his nov-els.25 His depiction of Clithero Edny, moreover, had much in common with British accounts. When awake, Edny was reputed to be "a pattern of sobriety and gentleness" whose intelligence was superior to his occupation.26 The savage acts committed by the mysterious sleepwalker stood in stark contrast to the delicate sensibility of Edny's waking character. The problematic moral accountability of the sleepwalker is central to Edgar Huntly and [End Page 413] it turned on this division of consciousness. Edgar distinguished between his waking deeds and those murderous acts that seemed to have been prompted from outside his rational mind. He claimed to have been "defrauded, for a moment, of the empire of my muscles" and moved by a "daemon" or "a power foreign and superior" in those moments when he perpetrated his most violent acts.27 The novel firmly rejected a divine or demonic origin for these actions and instead defined Huntly's "daemon" as a metaphor for the degenerate society that he inhabited. For Brown, and indeed for Rousseau, the physiological defect that caused sleepwalking lay not only within the individual constitution but also in the immediate social environment. The figure of the sleepwalker was thus not abandoned in the late eighteenth century but instead co-opted into discourses of citizenship to critique the existing social order and to demand reform. The naturalized sleepwalker had been transformed into a paradigm of an ill-disciplined, uncontrolled individual whose honor, virtue, and reputation had been fatally compromised. It was in this guise that the sleepwalker was permitted to enter the pages of pedagogical literature.


Reports of sleepwalkers seeped out of scholarly networks of physicians and philosophers. They were absorbed and discussed by a reading public intrigued by the mysterious status of sleepwalkers, who inhabited a middle space between the known waking world and the unknown non-conscious realm of human experience. A distinct tone of caution was, however, characteristic of late eighteenth-century published reports of sleepwalkers, which is best exemplified in accounts of an Italian sleepwalker named Cyrillo Padovano. Reports of Cyrillo's life and crimes purported to be a true history of a known individual. It is unclear, however, whether Cyrillo ever existed or whether his "history" was constructed purely for didactic purposes. The use of biographical life stories was nevertheless a marked feature of pedagogical works at this time.28 Whether fact or fiction, Cyrillo's story narrated a curious life history, but one that was infused with warnings about the consequences of impropriety and immorality when the powers of human reason were radically interrupted.

Irish author Oliver Goldsmith wrote the first anglophone journalistic [End Page 414] account of Cyrillo Padovano in the eclectic periodical The Westminster Magazine in 1773. Cyrillo's nocturnal crimes took center stage in the account, which examined the relationship between degrees of consciousness, the exercise of the human will, and moral responsibility. The use of self-discipline and individual accountability for human action was a central focus within explications of good citizenship and moral virtue, which framed didactic instructional works for children and young adults. Goldsmith's report tapped directly into these debates and he sparked the interest of a reading public that was eager to engage with questions about the nature of virtue and how best to cultivate it.

Cyrillo Padovano was a Carthusian friar from the ancient city of Padua in Northern Italy. Goldsmith noted that Cyrillo was "remarkable for his simplicity, probity, piety, and candour" and provided a model of behavior to which his fellow Carthusians aspired. By night, however, Cyrillo's sleepwalking revealed a more sinister dimension to his character, which compromised his carefully cultivated waking reputation. When Cyrillo walked in his sleep, his list of crimes was unenviable. It began with simple pranks and the verbal abuse of his fellow friars, but Cyrillo's misdeeds soon escalated to violent outbursts and the theft of silk vestments and plate from the altar of his convent; he concealed his ill-gotten gains beneath his mattress before returning to bed. When the friars discovered the sacred objects in Cyrillo's cell the following morning, he was unable to account for their appearance since he retained no memory of his transgressions. His most heinous crime was, however, still to come. Under cover of darkness, Cyrillo broke into the grave of a wealthy benefactress of the convent who was buried in the cloister and stole her precious jewels. When her vault was discovered the day after the robbery, her body was reported to be "mangled" and "her fingers on which were some rings cut off, and all her finery carried away." Cyrillo was seemingly unaware of his part in these violent acts but his fellow friars nevertheless requested that he be sent away to another monastery, where he could be locked in his cell at night and prevented from further malice.29 Goldsmith's account implied that the friars were unable or unwilling to separate Cyrillo's sleeping and waking personalities. They suspected that his nocturnal crimes revealed a dark and nefarious character beneath his pious waking personality and in so doing they clung steadfastly to the ideal of a unified self that transcended different degrees of consciousness. The lapse of moral responsibility implied in philosophical accounts of [End Page 415] sleepwalking clearly had limitations in practice: Oliver Goldsmith suggested that suspicions of guilt and immorality endured in real-life cases of sleepwalking that had tangible material and emotional effects.

In fitting his account for pedagogical use, Oliver Goldsmith suggested that the seeds of Cyrillo Padovano's troubles were sown in his youth, when his sleepwalking appeared to be harmless—even helpful—and was subsequently left unchecked to escalate to dangerous extremes. When he was a university student, Cyrillo had struggled to complete some of the tasks set by his tutors. But when he sleepwalked, he could master these challenges without difficulty—a trait that was reminiscent of the celebrated sleepwalking reports in the compendium Every Man Entertained. Goldsmith clearly disapproved of this interpretation, however, and chose to emphasize instead the natural weakness of Cyrillo's mind. His inability to control his passions likewise made him "gloomy, solicitous, and desponding" on occasion, which prompted his decision to withdraw from society and dedicate his life to the religious order.30 Cyrillo thus represented the antithesis of the ideal productive citizen; his self-discipline was weak, his mind fragile, his passions unruly, and his decision to pursue a monastic life rendered him superfluous to the progress of social reform. An implicit anti-Catholic critique also characterized Goldsmith's account, which added greater ignominy to Cyrillo's long list of misdeeds among a largely Protestant readership in Britain.

Goldsmith's report was likely shaped by the tastes of his readers and by his own personal interest in somatic conditions, which may have been piqued by his time as a medical student at the University of Edinburgh from 1752. He received further medical training at the University of Leiden in 1754, where he attended lectures by Je´roˆme Gaubius. Gaubius's Philosophical Discourse on the Management and Cure of the Disorders of the Mind was published in English in 1760. In it he established the mutual dependencies of bodily disorders and the mind's faculties. He was particularly anxious to treat those conditions that disturbed the exercise of rationality and understanding. Gaubius wished to manage bodily health in order to preserve intellectual vigor and thereby safeguard virtue and morality, which he judged to be physiologically conditioned:

the moral faculties of the soul are as much under the power of the body, as the rational ones; and that not every kind of intemperance, all avarice, every lustful inclination, inhumanity, bent [End Page 416] towards theft, the cruelties of murder, outrages of suicide, and the like, are to be so intirely deemed the faults of the mind but that they may sometimes more properly be said to spring from the brutish body, and an insane state of the animal economy; and that the body, as it were, drags the reluctant mind into an association of its own guilt.31

Gaubius was cautious in accepting the philosophy of "Pre-established harmony." He defined this as the cohabitation and mutual interaction of body and soul, which were as "two automata, or self-moving machines" that inhabited the same physical space.32 He believed that their mode of interaction lay beyond full human comprehension. The actions of sleepwalkers, who inhabited non-conscious space, nevertheless promised to shed light on this physiological conundrum. Some bodily actions were possible, he believed, without the mind "being privy to what is transacted, and even when she is much averse to it." He insisted that the body was not always the servant of the mind's will but that it could exercise equal dominion to it. A diseased body and unregulated passions could therefore present a danger to the faculties of the soul, and by extension to moral virtue.33 These themes resonated strongly in Oliver Goldsmith's work, in which he speculated about the moral implications of sleepwalking, alongside its physiological basis. He specifically fitted his report, moreover, for didactic use by prefacing Cyrillo Padovano's troubled life story with the following reflection:

It has often been a question in the Schools, Whether it be preferable to be a King by day, and a Beggar in our dreams by night; or, inverting the question, a Beggar by day, and a Monarch while sleeping? It has usually been decided, that the sleeping Monarch was the happiest man, since he is supposed to enjoy all his happiness without contamination; while the Monarch in reality, feels the various inconveniencies that attend his station. However this may be, there are none sure more miserable than those who enjoy neither situation with any degree of comfort, but feel all the inconveniences of want and poverty by day, while they find a repetition of their misery in a dream.34 [End Page 417]

Goldsmith's avowed purpose in publishing this report fitted it for pedagogical use and it presaged a much more cautious interest in non-conscious states of mind.

The Gentleman's and London Magazine reprinted the history of Cyrillo Padovano in early 1773 and the tone of this report was remarkably similar to Oliver Goldsmith's account, with the complex relationship between Cyrillo's sleepwalking, his waking identity, and the question of moral responsibility taking center stage.35 Cyrillo's misfortunes were again reprinted in two separate editions of Novellettes, Selected for the Use of Young Ladies and Gentlemen in 1780 and 1784. These collections were compiled and edited by the Glamorgan-born novelist and playwright Elizabeth Griffith, whose works were noted for their overtones of moral instruction that were deliberately formulated for the edification of young women. In Novellettes, Griffith gathered together a collection of her own works and combined them with excerpts from the publications of Oliver Goldsmith and Mr. McMillan, which all shared a distinct didactic purpose. Griffith's stated intention in publishing Novellettes, besides turning a much-needed profit, was to instill "knowledge and morality" in the minds of young students, who might thereby procure an elegant and gracious disposition. Similar precepts underpinned her most significant instructional work, Essays Addressed to Young Married Women, published just two years later in 1782.

In the preface to Novellettes, Griffith drew similar inspiration and material from the worlds of medicine and philosophy. She recommended the work to parents, tutors, and governesses as "a beacon to guide the young Traveller in the wild of Science to the path where utility is connected with delight."36 Accounts of sleepwalkers thus served a useful civic purpose; they provided a bridge between the worthy inculcation of virtue and entertaining diversions for the imagination, which were far from incompatible. Sleepwalking reports promised to engage the hearts and minds of their readers and to strike the perfect balance between didactic moralizing and the cultivation of sentiment and vivacity of spirit. Griffith claimed, in her own words, that the Novellettes could effect "the happy union of the dulce with the utile," which was the ideal combination of qualities to which accomplished girls and boys should aspire.37 [End Page 418]

The pedagogical relevance of Cyrillo Padovano's sleepwalking was firmly underscored by this collection, which located it within a genre of conduct literature developed for wealthy and middle-class boys, girls, and their tutors. The preface made clear that the collection was designed to "invite the young mind to the task of study and improvement." The sleepwalking genius had no place in pedagogical works in which the principle of self-improvement was now firmly entrenched: sustained hard work and self-discipline were the only permissible routes to intellectual and moral refinement. This tenet shaped the educational treatises of radical dissenters and it was a principle to which a broad spectrum of middle-class parents and tutors aspired.38 Elizabeth Griffith stated that it was the intention of her publication "to provide an useful Instructor, in the habit of a pleasing Companion, to the Young of both Sexes" and it reassured those skeptics that may have feared a fanciful indulgence with dangerously romanticized explanations of sleepwalking that "No poisoning levity is concealed beneath the warm colouring of character, to instil itself imperceptibly into the heart."39 Fanciful tales and narratives of miraculous social advancement might destabilize impressionable young minds and thus derail the inculcation of rational thought. It was in this context that fairy tales and reports of supernatural encounters with ghosts and spirits designed for children became targets of complaint for educational theorists such as John Locke and Sarah Trimmer. Trimmer, who tried to stimulate young minds by incorporating lively pictures and animal characters into her children's books, believed that magical and supernatural phenomena had no place in the pedagogical canon since they lacked a foundation in reality and were thus dismissed as the deluded fancies of weak imaginations.40 The naturalization of sleepwalking ensured that reports of this condition could be safely incorporated within pedagogical literature if they served an approved educational purpose and invited feelings of revulsion.

Oliver Goldsmith's account of Cyrillo Padovano appealed to the editors of Novellettes because it offered a commentary on the true composition of virtue, which encouraged sober, rational, and virtuous self-discipline. The report combined the praise of these qualities with a warning about the [End Page 419] ease with which honor and good reputation could be lost if young bodies and minds were left without a moral compass to guide them. Cyrillo's history framed his sleepwalking as a physical and moral deformity that brought disgrace on him. This chimed with pedagogical preferences to educate children by interpolating them within a system of shame and reward—a principle that was clearly articulated by John Locke—rather than inflicting corporal correction.41 The Novellettes employed no tone of wonder or romanticization in recounting Cyrillo's story, which was instead framed as a cautionary morality tale. The social distinction that sleepwalking was believed to confer on sufferers who displayed great artistry and genius was thus tempered by the underlying shadow of vice that it could reveal to observers who continued to associate the deeds of the sleepwalker with waking morality.

The ambiguous moral status of sleepwalkers thus sparked intensive debates in the final decades of the eighteenth century and ensured that sleepwalking reports were prized for their didactic purpose. In 1789 The Narrative Companion and Entertaining Moralist included a version of Goldsmith's report. This work was adapted and updated from a two-volume edition of the same name, first published in 1760. The 1789 edition was printed by Joseph Wenham in London's Fleet Street, whose stated ambition in doing so was to "strengthen and improve the mind as well as give energy and fortitude to moral conduct" by dramatically displaying the fatal effects of physical, mental, and moral defects. Wenham judged that his narratives, which condemned Cyrillo Padovano's sleepwalking crimes, struck a perfect balance between instruction and entertainment: they stimulated the imagination and instilled wisdom and morality in the minds of young readers.42 Cyrillo Padovano was presented to Wenham's audience as a pitiable man "of a double character." He possessed a glowing reputation during his waking hours yet this was overturned by his predilection for sleepwalking, which transformed him into "a thief, a robber, and a plunderer of the dead."43 The lesson to be taken from this report was that sleepwalking should not be celebrated as a modish disorder lest it cast a dark shadow over one's moral reputation. Young ladies and gentlemen were instead encouraged to improve their intellect and artistic skills through disciplined hard work rather than through dangerous experiments with non-conscious states. [End Page 420]


The growing significance of sleepwalkers as cautionary figures within pedagogical treatises was mirrored by their appearance in narratives of romance, where they offered lessons to young ladies and gentlemen in delicate affairs of the heart. Cultivation of moral virtue and social improvement depended equally on honorable behavior in courtship as it did on a good education. On Saturday, February 18, 1764, the miscellaneous compendium of prose and poetry The Weekly Amusement printed "An Uncommon Story of a Sleep-Walker." This comprised a light-hearted account of a young gentleman who unexpectedly acquired a wife when he visited the noble house of one of his relatives in the west of England. The house was full when he arrived due to a family wedding taking place and so the young man had to sleep in a chamber that the family had long believed to be haunted. Undeterred by this news, the young man fell asleep in his appointed bed, until three o'clock in the morning, when he was awoken by the vision of "some Body in the Appearance of a young woman, having a Night-Dress on her head, and only her Smock on" who entered his chamber. She circled the room then lay down beside him in the bed before rising again and returning from whence she came. The gentleman revealed the truth of the affair the following morning: the supposed apparition was in fact their family sleepwalker—one of the gentleman's daughters who had no recollection of her nocturnal wanderings. Her father, much diverted by the tale, supposed that his daughter had revealed her secret desire to wed the young gentleman by lying down beside him. A marriage arrangement was forged between the two on the basis that the young lady's non-conscious actions had uncovered her inner passions.44

A very different conclusion was reached, however, in the comic opera of Giovanni Bertati and Domenico Cimarosa, La matrimonio secreto. The opera was based on the highly successful play The Clandestine Marriage, written by George Colman the Elder and David Garrick, which played continuously at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane from February 20 to March 13, 1766. The opera was first performed at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, on January 11, 1794, and it was published in English translations in 1794 and 1798. The play featured Count Robinson, an English gentleman who was betrothed to a young gentlewoman named Elisetta. The count, however, fell in love with Elisetta's sister Carolina, who had secretly married [End Page 421] another man, Paolino, without her parents' knowledge or permission. When the count was pressed by Carolina to justify his amorous advances towards her, he claimed that his "slippery disposition" was due to the fact that he was "a walking dreamer." He went on to confess that "very often in my sleep I walk."45 The count's sleepwalking functioned as a plot device to identify his malicious character and to legitimate Carolina's secret marriage to Paolino. The count's condition was presented as a physical symptom of his corrupt moral virtue that in turn made him a poor marriage prospect despite his high status and enviable fortune of one hundred thousand crowns.

The protagonist in the dramatic comedy The Sleep-Walker served a comparable purpose to the sleepwalking Count Robinson, which once again blunted the sense of wonder and fascination that sleepwalkers had formerly generated. The original composition Le somnambule was written by French playwright Antoine Ferriol, Pont-de-Veyle. The play was translated into English by Lady Elizabeth Craven and published with the indulgence of author and politician Horace Walpole at his Strawberry Hill press in 1778. The press, and Walpole, were famed for launching the first gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto (1765), which exposed tales of supernatural activity to ridicule. The sleepwalker in Ferriol's play was one Mr. Devasthouse, the son of a rich Hamburg merchant. Lady Belmour had promised her daughter Emily in marriage to Mr. Devasthouse, although Emily had formed a secret attachment to a less wealthy suitor named Valentine. Lady Belmour had arranged for the intended couple to meet at a villa near London before the marriage plan was fully realized, and her choice was sound based on reports of Mr. Devasthouse's waking character since he was reputed to be generous, rich, handsome, and "very good humour'd and sensible."46 Mr. Devasthouse's premature appearance at the villa, however, gave Lady Belmour immediate cause for suspicion after he begged leave to sleep upon his arrival in the middle of the day, rather than greeting his hosts and taking a tour of the house. Lady Belmour considered this behavior to be an "affront," especially in so young a person, and she judged that "it argues in him a delicacy of person, and an indelicacy of mind."47 Mr. Devasthouse's servant, Frontless, tried to guard his master's secret proclivity to sleepwalk and he confided only in his uncle that if the truth of his [End Page 422] master's condition were known, it would ruin his prospects of marriage to Lady Emily. It was Mr. Devasthouse himself, however, who finally revealed his infirmity when he sleepwalked into company wearing only his nightgown and verbally insulted both Lady Belmour and Lady Emily. The impropriety of his appearance and the discovery of his "brutal temper" in this altered state signaled the end of his romantic aspirations.48

Mr. Devasthouse's sleepwalking was a plot device designed to facilitate the union of Lady Emily and her less wealthy suitor Valentine. The selection of this condition to convey such a message was nevertheless instructive. The script referenced growing anxieties about masquerade and a desire to uncover an authentic self. The play simultaneously highlighted a reluctance to divide personal identity according to different degrees of consciousness, but instead to regard the waking and sleepwalking versions of Mr. Devasthouse as two linked dimensions of one complete character. The sleeping habits of individual characters were also aligned with personal morality throughout the play. Lord Vandergrass, Valentine's uncle, complained that his nephew slept too late in the mornings, which he deemed a defect of gentility. He insisted that Valentine "must rise earlier—a great deal earlier" if he was to fulfill his potential in polite society and make a suitable marriage partner for Lady Emily.49 Valentine's mild transgressions were nothing, however, compared to Mr. Devasthouse's sleepwalking, which was fashioned as the most extreme form of physical and moral deformity and a fatal defect in the marriage market. Sleeping habits and sleep disorders were firmly rooted within a moral framework throughout the eighteenth century. Temperate sleeping hours were valued as tools of self-discipline and as guardians of good physical and mental health. Self-control and a healthy, rational mind were admirable qualities to present to a potential spouse that ranked alongside general deportment, wit, intelligence, and wealth. Irregular sleeping habits and sleep disorders were thus a cause for concern, especially among men and women who were of marriageable age. Reports of naturalized, mechanical sleepwalkers that served a clear didactic purpose and encouraged the cultivation of a unified and accountable self were the only acceptable accounts to present to impressionable children and young adults. These representations prefigured the condemnation of fragmented states of consciousness that was institutionalized in French pedagogical literature in the post-Revolutionary period.50 [End Page 423]


Sleepwalking reports served a unique set of didactic and pedagogical purposes in late eighteenth-century Britain. They were framed as cautionary morality tales and folded into expositions of ideal citizenship and pedagogical schemas designed to cultivate moral virtue and self-discipline. The malleable figure of the sleepwalker thus spoke to diverse ideological concerns and played a central role in programs of social and educational reform. The systematic naturalization of sleepwalking made these appropriations possible. The sleepwalker, classified as a sufferer of neurological disorder, was firmly tied to the world of nature thanks to shifting medical and philosophical explanations of this condition that diluted long-established associations with divine or diabolical forces. Shorn of otherworldly overtones, sleepwalking reports offered fertile ground to physicians and philosophers eager to understand the inner workings of body and mind. The naturalized sleepwalker similarly suited the ambitions of educational reformers who wished to edify and entertain young readers within the bounds of the natural world. The outrageous transgressions of some sleepwalkers captured the attention of young readers, yet they were not model citizens to inspire emulation. Their stories were framed instead as warnings to children and young adults about the dangers of immoderate bodily habits, untamed passions, and overactive imaginations. These excesses could weaken the nerves, bodies, and minds of vulnerable youths if left uncorrected. As a result, they would be increasingly unable to withstand the corrupting influences of their social environments.

The damaging consequences of unregulated imaginations were dramatically exemplified in the fate of Cyrillo Padovano. Multiple appropriations of his life history underline the utility that his example served in pedagogical literature that was suffused with discourses of control. Courtship narratives likewise signaled the social ignominy that could accompany this condition, which served to instruct young readers in virtuous patterns of comportment. Reports of miscreant sleepwalkers thus blended with programs of educational and social reform that aimed to optimize the physical and psychological development of children. It was in this climate that the awe and reverence once afforded to sleepwalkers as preternatural wonders or as refined victims of nervous sensibility began to subside as reports of their transgressions accumulated. The latest reports of sleepwalkers were avidly sought out, published, and abridged to feed the curiosity of readers eager to learn more about the inner workings of the mind and imagination. [End Page 424] If these readers were initially awed by the intellectual and artistic achievements of some sleepwalkers, this sense of wonder may well have been outweighed by the immoral and violent acts that they also encountered in these accounts. Educational reformers thus endeavored to transform the affective regimes that sleepwalkers inhabited by encouraging children and young adults to regard them as monstrous deformities of physical, mental, and moral virtue. The accumulation and circulation of sleepwalkers' transgressions within printed pedagogical texts provided their readers with a vocabulary of revulsion and with powerful evidence of the harm that could ensue from poor self-discipline and immoderate passions.

The romanticization of childhood in the late eighteenth century as a state of natural innocence and as an arena of social progress partly explains why sleepwalkers became increasingly prominent and yet highly controversial figures within pedagogical literature. Sleepwalking was regarded less and less as something to be celebrated than as a physical and mental defect that corrupted moral virtue and materially damaged the future life prospects of those who suffered from it. Sleepwalkers thus became the antithesis of widely held social, moral, and spiritual values: they represented the failure of civil society to produce and control rational and peaceable citizens. The classification of the sleepwalker as a deformity of nature was more, rather than less, threatening than its preternatural antecedent. The roots of this condition were, after all, embedded within corrupt social organisms that had the capacity to reproduce this monstrous fragmentation of the individual psyche. The transformation of sleepwalkers into natural yet reviled deformities of nature thus made them ripe for the exploitation of public-spirited pedagogues. [End Page 425]

Sasha Handley
University of Manchester


1. Nathaniel Wanley, The Wonders of the Little World; or, A General History of Man, in Six Books (London: T. Davies, 1774), 624.

2. Ibid., editor's preface.

3. J. H. Plumb, "The New World of Children in Eighteenth-Century England," Past and Present 67 (1975): 84; Victor Neuberg, Popular Education in Eighteenth-Century England (London: Woburn Press, 1971); Samuel F. Pickering Jr., John Locke and Children's Books in Eighteenth-Century England (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1981); Mary V. Jackson, Engines of Instruction, Mischief, and Magic (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1989).

4. On medical explanations of sleepwalking in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain, see Sasha Handley, "Sleepwalking, Subjectivity and the Nervous Body in Eighteenth-Century Britain," Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 35 (2012): 305–23.

5. For discussion of the effects of print on the content and reception of supernatural reports, see Alexandra Walsham, "The Reformation and 'The Disenchantment of the World' Reassessed," The Historical Journal 51 (2008): 519–20; Owen Davies, "Newspapers and the Popular Belief in Witchcraft and Magic in the Modern Period," Journal of British Studies 37 (1998): 139–66; Sabine Doering-Manteuffel, "The Supernatural and the Development of Print Culture," in Beyond the Witch Trials: Witchcraft and Magic in Enlightenment Europe, ed. Owen Davies and Willem de Blécourt (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 187–93; Handley, Visions of an Unseen World: Ghost Beliefs and Ghost Stories in Eighteenth-Century England (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007).

6. See, for example, William Smellie, The Philosophy of Natural History (Edinburgh: Printed for the Heirs of Charles Elliot; and C. Elliot and T. Kay, T. Cadell, and G. G. J. & J. Robinsons, 1790), and Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia; or, The Laws of Organic Life, 2 vols. (London: J. Johnson, 1794–96).

7. Andrew O'Malley, The Making of the Modern Child: Children's Literature and Childhood in the Late Eighteenth Century (New York: Routledge, 2003), 13.

8. On medieval interpretations of sleepwalking, see William MacLehose, "Sleepwalking, Violence and Desire in the Middle Ages," Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 37 (2013): 601–24; Alain Boureau, Satan the Heretic: The Birth of Demonology in the Medieval West, trans. Teresa Lavender Fagan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 152–54; Jean-Claude Schmitt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 22–24, 42–52.

9. The True Relation of Two Wonderfull Sleepers (London: Thomas Bates, 1646). On revelatory understandings of sleeping and dreaming in early modern Britain, see Alec Ryrie, "Sleeping, Waking and Dreaming in Protestant Piety," in Private and Domestic Devotion in Early Modern Britain, ed. Jessica Martin and Alec Ryrie (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 73–92.

10. Shakespeare Macbeth 5.1.71–74.

11. Kenneth Dewhurst, Thomas Willis's Oxford Lectures (Oxford: Sandford Publications, 1980), 105–6.

12. Thomas Willis, Two Discourses Concerning the Soul of Brutes Which Is That of the Vital and Sensitive of Man (London: Thomas Dring, Charles Harper and John Leigh, 1683), 86–96.

13. Darwin, Zoonomia, 1:116–17, 221–26.

14. Comte de Buffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Natural History, General and Particular, by the Count de Buffon, 9 vols. (Edinburgh: William Creech, 1780), 3:258–59.

15. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding in Four Books (London: Thomas Basset, 1690); David Hartley, Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His Expectations (London, 1749).

16. Catherine Macaulay, Letters on Education: With Observations on Religious and Metaphysical Subjects (London: C. Dilly, 1790), 78–80.

17. Buffon's marginalization of wonders has been discussed in general terms in Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150–1750 (New York: Zone Books, 2001), 359.

18. Handley, "Sleepwalking," 312–22. There is an extensive literature on fashionable dis ease in eighteenth-century British culture. Roy Porter and G. S. Rousseau, Gout: The Patrician Malady (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); G. S. Rousseau, Nervous Acts: Essays on Literature, Culture and Sensibility (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); Clark Lawlor, Consumption and Literature: The Making of the Romantic Disease (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006); Allan Ingram, Stuart Sim, Clark Lawlor, Richard Terry, John Baker, and Leigh Wetherall Dickson, Melancholy Experience in Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century: Before Depression, 1660–1800 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); Alan Richardson, British Romanticism and the Science of the Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Richardson, The Neural Sublime: Cognitive Theories and Romantic Texts (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).

19. Every Man Entertained; or, Select Histories: Giving an Account of Persons Who Have Been Most Eminently Distinguish'd by Their Virtues or Vices, Their Perfections or Defects, Either of Body or Mind (London: Thomas Truth and Daniel Daylight, 1756), v–vi, 236–42.

20. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emilius; or, An Essay on Education, 2 vols. (London: J. Nourse and P. Vaillant, 1763), 2:109. The antithetical role of disorderly sleep and of the sleepwalker is underlined by the alignment of sound, moderate sleep with virtue and morality. See George Wright, The Young Moralist, Consisting of Allegorical and Entertaining Essays in Prose and Verse (London: H. Turpin and J. Fielding, 1782), 49, 74–75; John Hall-Stevenson, Moral Tales: A Christmas Night's Entertainment by Lady ******* (London: T. Becket, 1783), 19–21.

21. See the case of a young sleepwalker from Vevey in Switzerland translated and published in Edinburgh in 1792. Jean Daniel Pierre Etienne Levade, A True and Surprising Account of a Natural Sleep-Walker, Read before the Philosophical Society of Lausanne in Switzer land, on the 6th of February, 1788 (Edinburgh: Peter Hill, 1792), 1, 8. This case was used in the entry for "Sleep-Walker" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica; or, A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, 20 vols. (Dublin: James Moore, 1790–98), 27:534–36. For a survey of opposition to the unregulated imagination, see Jan Goldstein, The Post-Revolutionary Self: Politics and Psyche in France, 1750–1850 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005), 21–59.

22. Emilius and Sophia; or, A New System of Education: Translated from the French of Mr. J. J. Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva (London: T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt, 1763), 171.

23. Wright, Young Moralist, preface, 49.

24. Justine S. Murison, "The Tyranny of Sleep Somnambulism, Moral Citizenship, and Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly," Early American Literature 44 (2009): 243–70. See also Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker, with Related Texts, ed. Philip Barnard and Stephen Shapiro (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2006), xvii–xxiii.

25. Brown's friends collected reports of sleepwalkers that Brown used as the basis for a number of fictional works in which he explored the violent consequences of fragmented subjectivity. In 1796 Smith introduced Brown to the "History of the Sleepless Man of Madrid" taken from Benjamin Gooch's Practical Treatise on Wounds and Other Chirur gical Subjects (Norwich: W. Chase, 1767). Elihu Hubbard Smith's diary also featured a report of a sleepwalker that he gathered in Connecticut and that he noted "will do for C. B. Brown." Brown, Edgar Huntly, xvii, 221, 244–58.

26. Brown, Edgar Huntly, 11–12.

27. Ibid., 59.

28. On the use of biography in children's literature, see O'Malley, Making of the Modern Child, 11–13.

29. Essays and Criticisms, by Dr. Goldsmith; With an Account of the Author in Three Volumes (London: J. Johnson, 1798), 3:70–74.

30. Ibid., 3:71.

31. H. D. Gaubius, M. D., On the Passions; or, A Philosophical Discourse Concerning the Duty and Office of Physicians in the Management and Cure of the Disorders of the Mind: Delivered at the Academy in Leiden (London: W. Flexney, 1760), 5–6.

32. Ibid., 16–17.

33. Ibid., 25.

34. Goldsmith, Essays and Criticisms, 69.

35. The Gentleman's and London Magazine (London, 1773), 163–65.

36. Griffith, Novellettes, Selected for the Use of Young Ladies and Gentlemen (London, 1780), preface; Griffith, Essays Addressed to Young Married Women (London: Fielding and Walker, 1780).

37. Griffith, Novellettes, iii.

38. O'Malley, Making of the Modern Child, 33.

39. Griffith, Novellettes, i–ii.

40. Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (London: A. and J. Churchill, 1693), 159–61. Sarah Trimmer, Sacred History Selected from the Scriptures, with Annotations and Reflections, Suited to the Comprehension of Young Minds, 6 vols. (London: J. Dodsley, T. Longman, G. Robinson and J. Johnson, 1782–85), 3:61–64. Trimmer's pioneer ing use of animals in her children's books is best illustrated in her Fabulous Histories (London: T. Longman, G. G. J. and J. Robinson, and J. Johnson, 1786).

41. Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 48–49.

42. The Narrative Companion and Entertaining Moralist: Being a Selection of Histories, Novels, Tales, Fables, Essays, Dreams & (London: Joseph Wenman, 1789), title page and advertisement.

43. Narrative Companion, 54–55.

44. The Weekly Amusement … or, An Useful and Agreeable Miscellany of Literary Entertainment, 2 vols. (London: R. Goadby and William Leb, 1764–67), 1:141–42.

45. Giovanni Bertati, Il matrimonio secreto: A Comic Opera, in Two Acts (London: E. Jackson, 1798), 41–42.

46. Pont-de-Veyle, The Sleep-Walker, a Comedy: in Two Acts (Twickenham, Strawberry- Hill: T. Kirgate, 1778), 10.

47. Ibid., 27.

48. Ibid., 53.

49. Ibid., 14.

50. Goldstein, Post-Revolutionary Self, 21–59.

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