'Grete luste to slepe': somatic Ethics and the sleep of romance from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to Shakespeare.
hys kynne and hys knyghtes ... seyde at onys unto sir Launcelot, "Sir, now muste you deffende you lyke a knyght, othir ellis ye be shamed for ever, for now ye be called uppon treson, hit ys tyme for you to styrre! For ye have slepte over longe, and suffird overmuche". (2)
Here, sleep is figurative rather than physical, but it again reads as a comment about improper chivalric conduct. To have 'slepte over longe' is frequently presented as problematic and dangerous in Middle English and early modern texts. I have begun with a romance and a conduct manual printed on the cusp of the Tudor dynasty--in the case of Malory's Morte Darthur (31 July 1485), nearly on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth (22 August 1485)--because both use sleep as a language of identity formation that resonated in early modern England and in late medieval England. This article argues that literary sleep, both physical and metaphorical, often operated as an ethical discourse in late medieval secular literature, especially romance; it also argues that this medieval mode of thought continued to be influential in early modern literature.
A consistent set of attitudes about sleep persisted in England from the twelfth to the early seventeenth century. From the Peterborough Chronicle's comment that during the civil war between Stephen and Matilda, people said openly that 'Crist slept' (c. 1137), to Shakespeare's Queen Elizabeth Woodvilles lament that God must have been sleeping when her two little boys were murdered in the Tower in Richard III (c. 1591), literary sleep often marked a vulnerable or sinful state, a lack of perception, or a neglect of duties. (3) Sleep featured in romances from the genres rise in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries through to its use by Spenser and Shakespeare. These five centuries that saw the flowering of romance are also linked by the science of sleep that had been articulated within Galenic medicine, and by an architecture of sleep, since bedrooms became customary from the twelfth century onward, at least for the relatively wealthy literate classes. (4) Moreover, alongside romances, medieval and early modern people read dietaries and courtesy books that offered medical and ethical instruction about sleep. Such continuities testify to the longue duree of the premodern investment in sleep, before the scientific, literary, and social transformations of the seventeenth century weakened perceptions of sleep's cultural and cognitive importance. (5)
While the romance genre is primarily a medieval one, its popularity and the production of new texts, as well as the printing of old ones, continued through the sixteenth century. (6) As Brian Cummings and James Simpson observe, 'to continue to exist politely on either side' of the division between medieval and renaissance 'is to ignore the way that the works we study, and the way in which we study them, are implicated in ... that terminology'. (7) To use 'premodern' as an umbrella term, following studies such as David Wallace's Premodern Places, is to continue to rethink the relationship between medieval and early modern. Wallaces work and other recent studies by Simpson and Helen Cooper exemplify a growing awareness of the need to reconsider this divisive periodisation in order to deepen our understanding of the cultures of these centuries. (8) Sleep was a concern important to, and understudied in, both periods, and this article concentrates especially on the literature of the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries in order to foreground continuities that contribute to this reappraisal of periodisation. (9)
Premodern literary sleep is often concerned with the current ethical state of those who enter it, or are propelled out of it. I use the term 'ethical' for the sphere of the practical pursuit of a moral life in order to distinguish it from morality as doctrine, though of course the two overlap. (10) To establish the nature of this cultural discourse about sleep and its applicability to reading premodern literature, the following two sections firstly consider the tenets of medieval and early modern conduct manuals, and the transhistoricity of literary deployments of sleep from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. Thereafter, to further probe what reading for the ethics of sleep can add to our understanding of medieval and early modern secular literature, and of the continuities between the two, later sections of this article offer case studies of the Gawain-poet's oeuvre and Shakespeare's Macbeth and Richard III.
I. Reading for the Ethics of Sleep
As conduct manuals for young aristocrats, gentry, and the aspiring middle classes, late medieval and early modern courtesy books and dietaries offered behavioural models for hospitality and mealtime comportment, (11) models that were shared with romances, as has been demonstrated by Jonathan Nicholls and Ad Putter. (12) What has been less well recognised is courtesy books' and dietaries' related code of conduct regarding sleep, and the corresponding way in which sleep informs romance. Just as self-control was fundamental to courteous speech, table manners, and receiving or being a guest for readers wishing to perform courtly behaviour, so self-regulation was also required with regard to sleep, particularly after a meal. As one such conduct manual, Andrew Borde's Regyment of Helthe (1542), explains:
Whole men of what age or complexion so euer they be of, shulde take theyr naturall rest and slepe in the nyght: and to eschewe merydyall sleep. But and nede shall compell a man to slepe after his meate: let hym make a pause, and than let hym stande & lene and slepe agaynst a cupborde, or els let hym sytte upryght in a chayre and slepe. (13)
The measures and postures prescribed here for unnatural but irresistible daytime or post-prandial sleep involve exerting--and visibly displaying--temperance. Moreover, even when sleeping is fully sanctioned--at night--correct procedures must be observed:
To slepe grouellynge vpon the stomacke and bely is not good ... To slepe on the backe vpryght is vtterly to be abhorred: whan that you do slepe, let not your necke, nother your sholders, nother your hands, nor feete, nor no other place of your bodye, lye bare vndiscouered. Slepe not with an emptye stomacke, nor slepe not after that you haue eaten meate one howre or two after. In your bed lye with your head somwhat hyghe, leaste that the meate whiche is in your stomacke, thorowe eructuacions or some other cause, ascende to the oryfe of the stomacke. (14)
Sleep, then, was something that required a great deal of thought and care. Courtly persons needed to be conscientious about how they performed their loss of consciousness. Such principles are expounded across late medieval and early modern courtesy books and dietaries. (15)
The conduct manuals further indicate that the consequences of failing to adhere to such standards of conduct were not merely bodily. For instance, in John Lydgate's early fifteenth-century version of these concerns, found in his Dietary:
Suffer no surfytys in thy hous at nyght; Were of rere-sopers and of grete excese And be wele ware of candyll lyght, Of sleuth on morow and of idelnes, The whych of all vyces is chefe, as I gesse. After mete bewere: make not long slepe; Hede, fete, and stomoke preserve from colde. (16)
Here, injunctions to avoid excess--in eating, drinking, and so forth--are conjoined to injunctions to avoid doing that to which festive excess leads--namely, sleep too long--because it would be not only bad for ones health, but also bad for ones soul. That this was a very popular didactic tradition is attested not least by the fact that fifty-seven manuscripts of the Dietary survive. (17) William Caxton also printed the Dietary with a longer, prose Gouernayle of Helthe, which circulated in England in Latin from the mid-to-late fourteenth century, and in English from the early fifteenth century (at the latest), and which discusses sleep in the same vein. (18) Andrew Borde s Regiment of Helthe, with its discussion of sleeping postures (quoted above), is among many sixteenth-century dietaries and courtesy books that show continued interest in sleep as an ethical event and focus of regulation. (19)
Penitential manuals used by preachers to prepare sermons corroborate this vexed association between sleep and sloth. (20) For instance, in Robert Mannyng's early fourteenth-century Handlyng Synne, the slothful are criticised for sleeping rather than attending mass:
how sey pese men pat are pus slogh, pat oute of mesure slepe a throwe? whan he heryp a bel ryng, To holy cherche men kallyng, pan may he nat hys bedde lete But pan behouep hym to lygge and swete, And take pe mery mornyng slepe. (21)
The italicised lines--those which focus on sleep 'oute of mesure'--are not in Mannyng's French source, William ofWaddington's Manuel des Peches. The sinfulness of this sort of conduct is also underlined in a Middle English poem that laments late medieval churchgoers' inattentiveness, especially their sleeping, during sermons:
Sum men at sarmones er to blame And war wele better be at hame: ... Sum other unto sarmon cumes Bot in thaire brest no thing it blomes; ffor slepe thai may no tent take, (Bot at the taverne will thai wake.) fful light thai er, ill laykes to lere, And hevy sarmons for to here. His hevide than may he noght hald up, But wele he kepes the fendes cup. That the fendes cup, call I, That makes tham slepe and be hevy. (22)
To state that it is 'the fendes cup' that makes people sleep inappropriately here highlights connections between sleep, sin, and intemperance. Monitoring sleeping habits, then, affected well-being on the three levels associated with courtesy and ethics: somatic, social, and spiritual. We see these concerns combined in Lydgate s Dietary (above) and in Hugh Rhodes's mid-sixteenth-century Boke of Nurture, which instructs readers--especially young people --who wish to learn good manners and avoid vice to:
Ryse you earely in the morning, for it hath propertyes three: Holyness, health, and happy welth. (23)
Sleeping at inappropriate times or places, physically or metaphorically, is viewed as unethical--or used to connote the unethical; it would, if observed, affect one's social reputation, and it would also denote sinful sloth. As the following sections demonstrate, Middle English and early modern chivalric literature was informed by the courtesy books' sleep-related injunctions. To read for the ethics of sleep is to read in a way familiar and available to medieval and early modern readers from their courtesy books, dietaries, and chivalric literature. It offers ways of appreciating how such texts 'encod[e ...] social practice', (24) and of recognising a culturally determined habitus for performing and interpreting sleep that inflects the works of Ricardian and renaissance poets alike. (25)
II. The Sleep of the English?
Certainly, sometimes literary sleep is just sleep, as when, in the late fourteenth-century Avowyng of Arthur, Arthur falls asleep after tiring himself out hunting a boar. (26) However, deployments of the ethical legibilities of sleep are widespread in Middle English and early modern English literature; and the Middle English emphasis on this way of thinking is often unparalleled in French sources or analogues. For instance, sleep is ethically loaded in the early fourteenth-century Ywain and Gawain, where King Arthur and Queen Guenevere fall asleep after a meal:
After mete went the Kyng Into chamber to slepeing, And also went with him the Quene. That byheld thai al bydene, For thai saw tham never so On high dayes to chamber go. Bot sone, when thai war went to slepe, Knyghtes sat the dor to kepe. (27)
Here, the knights' surprise registers the untoward nature of the monarchs' post-prandial sleep, reflecting the tenets of the courtesy books. Arthur and Guenevere transgress the norms of courtesy by retiring to sleep in the middle of the day, and this transgression produces a story about learning courtesy: it is while they are asleep that, to pass the time, Colgrevance tells the tale that prompts Ywains quest and the central narrative of the poem. The causal connection between the royals' feasting and their sleeping is less strong in the French source, Chretien de Troyes's Yvain, where 'the queen detained' ('la reine le detint') Arthur away from the feast for so long that he falls asleep, with rather more erotic insinuations than the Middle English version's ethical ones. (28) Here, the English writer seems to have eschewed Chretien's sexual insinuation in favour of an ethical critique. Such ethical implications recur in representations of literal sleep in English literature in the centuries following Ywain and Gawain, as discussed below. Moreover, the ethics of metaphorical sleep register across this same time span, for instance, in Baldassare Castiglione s popular early modern The Book of the Courtier, published in Italian in 1528 and translated into English by Sir Thomas Hoby in 1561, where the activity, bravery, and loyalty of the ideal courtier are articulated in opposition to sleep, to those who shun their martial duties 'where they suppose that without missing they may convey them selves from danger' in order to 'sleep in a whole skinne'. (29) This metaphorical implication of sleep is deployed with respect to Malory's Launcelot (as discussed above), and in Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 1, where Richard Duke of York laments, 'thus we die while remiss traitors sleep'. (30) Perhaps it is the quotidian nature of sleep that has caused it to receive little scholarly attention; however, I would argue that literary representations of sleep reward critical scrutiny because in their recognisability--their cultural legibility--they contribute to the ways in which early English literature produces meaning.
Before examining further examples of the creation of an ethical emphasis through source alteration, it is worth observing that sleep has ethical implications in Middle English literature that is not directly indebted to sources, French or otherwise. For instance, in Piers Plowman, Glutton and Sloth manifest sinfully despairing or intemperate states through inappropriate sleep, while in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, even apart from Chaucer s snoring churls in the Millers and Reeve's Tales (paralleling the vulgarity of Patience's Jonah), the immoral Cook sleeps drunkenly during the daytime. (31) After drinking a great deal, Langland's Glutton is carried home, where:
his wyf and his wenche Baren hym to his bed and brouhten hym per-ynne, And aftur al this exces he hadde an accidie aftur; A sleep Saturday and Sonenday til pe sonne zede to reste. (32)
Gluttons 'accidie', or fit of sloth, indicates that due to his excess, he is overcome by his neighbouring sin; and for this behaviour, his wife reproaches him for his wicked living. Sloth follows 'al bislabered, with two slymed eighen', belches, and begins to snore. (33) Both Sloth and Glutton sleep during the daytime, which, as in the courtesy books and dietaries, constitutes a lack of temperance and a form of idleness frowned upon both socially and spiritually. This daytime sleep parallels that of Chaucers Cook, who drowses on his horse in the Manciple's Prologue and is criticised by the Host for his untimely 'slepe by the morwe'. (34)
In the prose Melusine, a romance translated into English from French near the end of the fifteenth century, sleep again has ethical implications. When the protagonist Raymond first encounters Melusine, and twice fails to answer her greetings, Melusine 'toke and pulled strongly hys hand, sayeng in this manere: "Sire vassal, ye slep." Thanne Raymondyn was astonyed and affrayed, as one is whan another awaketh hym fro slepe'. (35) These similes about sleep concern a lack of perception, but also more than that: since Raymond fails to greet Melusine as a courteous knight ought, this language of sleep registers a failure to behave according to ethical standards. Moreover, where the English Melusine says 'he semeth to be asleep', (36) the Melusine in the French source concentrates on saying 'pensif' instead of sleep. (37) Since both Ywain and Gawain and Melusine focus more on the ethics of sleep than their French sources do, and since this interest is shared with the largely independent Ricardian poems discussed above, we might speculate that there is a discourse of sleep that pertains particularly, though of course not exclusively, to insular romance.
This idea of an English specificity to the premodern literary ethics of sleep is also supported by Launcelots sleep in Malory's Morte Darthur. A sinful sleep symbolises Launcelots inability to perceive the Grail during the Quest, but what interests me here is a sleep much earlier in the Morte, at the beginning of 'The Tale of Sir Launcelot'. Here, Malory states that: 'the wedir was hote aboute noone, and sir Launcelot had grete luste to slepe.' (38) In Malory's French source, it is explained that due to weariness and heat it was expedient or appropriate for the knights to sleep until the heat of the day passed. (39) This is rather different from Launcelot's 'great lust to sleep', which implies a lack of temperance. Moreover, Launcelot's declaration that 'this seven year I was not so sleepy as I am now', (40) is not in the French version. (41) Thus, the Morte emphasises the way in which giving in to this explicitly daytime sleep represents a lack of self-control that the courtesy books would find reprehensible, and this seems to point up Launcelot's responsibility for the subsequent events. Significantly, during Launcelot's unchivalric sleep, he fails in his duty to his companion Lionel, who is captured by another knight. Furthermore, Launcelot's lack of vigilance is what allows the four queens to capture him (and to try to corrupt his faithfulness to Arthur and Guenevere), since he is still sleeping when they approach him.
This ethical discourse does not pertain, in either the conduct manuals or romances, only to men. (42) In the late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century Sir Orfeo, the queen Heurodis, like Malory's Launcelot, falls asleep outside on a hot day:
This ich quen, Dame Heurodis Tok to maidens of priis, ... Thai sett hem doun al thre Under a fair ympe-tre, And wel sone this fair quene Fel on slepe opon the grene. The maidens durst hir nought awake, Bot lete hir ligge and rest take. So sche slepe til after none, That undertide was al y-done. Ac, as sone as sche gan awake, Sche crid, and lothli bere gan make; Sche froted hir honden and hir fete, And crached hir visage--it bled wete-- Hir riche robe hye al to-rett And was reveyd out of hir wit. (43)
While readings of Heurodiss sleep have often focused on the enigmatic 'ympe-tre' under which she lies, (44) more important for my argument is that she sleeps at 'undertide', or during the middle of the day. As John Friedman has pointed out in his reading of the significance of the 'undertide' specification for Heurodiss sleep and abduction, sleeping during the middle of the day was viewed as dangerous in connection with the tradition of the 'noon-day demon', or Satan, who was thought to be especially powerful at this time of day. (45) However, as I have been suggesting, the connotations of meridial or outdoor sleep include the implication of unethical or intemperate behaviour promulgated by (secular) conduct manuals and dietaries. According to this view, it cannot be said, as Friedman does, that 'the conduct of Heurodis is blameless'. (46) Heurodis s meridial sleep produces both mutilation and madness, as a symbolic rape; and it leads to her abduction by the fairies, a rape or raptus in the medieval sense. (47) It is not that she is herself to blame for this raptus; rather, here, it seems that one culturally legible discourse about the dangers of a lack of bodily decorum is bleeding into another such discourse. Sleeps ethical implications are gendered, but not definitively; (48) Launcelots midday sleep renders him vulnerable to both forms of raptus too, since the four queens not only abduct him but also seek to make him their lover. Thus, for both genders, inappropriate sleep can mark a lack of the vigilance necessary for protecting one's virtue as a failure to the self; but for male characters in romance, giving in to an appetite for sleep often also marks a shortfall in courtesy or duty that is a failure in interpersonal ethics.
These fourteenth- and fifteenth-century texts deploy sleep as an ethical language in a way that continues through the sixteenth century. My aim here is to demonstrate that this is a medieval way of thinking that is continued by early modern writers, including--but not limited to--Shakespeare. The early Tudor poet, John Skelton, wrote in around 1495 that people should not be like 'sluggysh slovyns, that slepe day and nyght', (49) and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, wrote c. 1542 that 'In Prynces hartes Goddes scourge yprinted depe | Myght them awake out of their synfull slepe', showing that representations or invocations of sleep continued to be used as a form of admonition about both sociopolitical and spiritual conduct into the early modern period. (50) In Sidney's Old Arcadia (1580), the vulgarity of daytime sleep is emblematised by the shepherd Dametas, who lies with 'his sleepy back upon a sunny bank ... gaping as far as his jaws would suffer him', not long before we are told that the duke, Basilius, likewise 'lay at that time sleeping, as it was in the heat of the day'. (51) Basilius's incompetence and incontinence as a ruler are embodied in his later unattractive and unhealthy enchanted sleep--with 'a dark yellowness dyeing his skin and a cold deadly sweat principally about his temples'--which is induced when he greedily consumes a magic potion intended for another because his 'belly had no ears'. (52) Here, Basilius is, as Garrett Sullivan observes, fittingly overcome by his own appetite, and it is only through restoration from this lack of temperance that he is able to become a just ruler. (53) Sullivan's reading of the ethics of sleep in the Old Arcadia locates Sidney s model in Plato, (54) eschewing any mention of medieval precedents or insular continuities. Equally neglected are the connections with this medieval mentality in Spenser's Faerie Queene (c. 1590-96), (55) where seductresses such as Acrasia coax knights to sin by lulling them into sleep, resulting in an effacement of proper chivalric identity. When Acrasia dallies with Verdant, she 'had him now laid a slombering' and 'His warlike Armes, the ydle instrumets | Of sleeping praise, were hong vpon a tree'. (56) Here, sleep provides both the somatic mode of unethical activity, and the metaphorical language for discussing its negative corollaries as a behaviour antithetical to proper self-fashioning. It is no surprise then that it is Guyon-Spensers embodiment of temperance, the virtue that the medieval courtesy books oppose to improper sleep--who destroys the Bower of Bliss, Acrasia's domain, in this early modern continuation of a medieval English binary opposition. Thus far, my aim has been to establish the longevity and currency of this way of thinking about and portraying sleep in premodern English literature, touching on moments where it can enrich a reading of a variety of texts. The sections that follow turn to more focused case studies to further suggest how reading for the ethics of sleep can illuminate the work of both a central Middle English author, and a central early modern one.
III. The Gawain-poet's 'segges slepande'
Sleep, as both signifier and state, occurs in all four of the Gawain-poet's works--Pearl, Patience, Cleanness, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight--and all four of these late fourteenth-century poems approach sleep as an act invested with ethical implications. (57) Courtesy is foregrounded in all four poems as an outward manifestation of inward virtue: criticism of the Gawain-poet has focused especially on the nature of courtesy as an ideal of personal integrity and politeness to be performed in one's actions and speech towards others, both human and divine. (58) This section explores the ways in which, in these poems in particular, sleep is figured as the antithesis of courtesy and temperance. More specifically, the Gawain-poet interrogates proper spiritual and social conduct through rhetorical collocations that emphasise the ethical implications of sleep.
In Patience, when Jonah is cowering in the storm-tossed ship in a vain attempt to escape both God's wrath and the sacrificial impulses of his fellow mariners, he falls asleep in despair:
He watz flowen for ferde of pe flode lotes Into pe bopem of pe bot, and on a brede lyggede, Onhelde by hurrok, for heuen wrache, Slypped vpon a sloumbe-selepe, and sloberande he routes. (59)
Jonah's slobbering and snoring highlight correspondences between his somatic vulgarity and his spiritual and social misconduct. In medieval religious writings, sleep could signify moral blindness, and Jonah's sleep was interpreted as such by medieval commentators because it contravened ascetic observance. (60) Jonah's sleep also emphasises human imperfection in contrast with the poems demonstration of divine wakefulness, since God 'ay wakes'. (61) The poet, however, gives this Jonah a sleep more uncouth than that of his Vulgate source, (62) perhaps because Jonah has behaved unethically not only towards God, by disobeying his command to go to Nineveh, but also towards his community, since the other seafarers are endangered solely on his behalf. The sailors' criticism of Jonah demonstrates that his sleep is as recognisably uncommendable to his fellow characters as it would be to the poet's society: 'Hatz pou, gome, no gouernour ne god on to calle, | pat pou pus slydes on slepe when pou slayn worses?' (63) Jonah also 'slides into sleep' on another occasion, after he expresses his hubristic and inconsiderate wish that God had not spared the Ninevites:
He slydez on a sloumbe-slep sloghe vnder leues, Whil God wayned a worme pat wrot vpe pe rote, And wyddered watz pe wodbynde bi pat pe wyze wakned. (64) 65
Here, Jonah's immoral state, at the moment in which God must teach him another lesson, is marked again by 'sliding' into 'sleep'. This lexical collocation of 'slide' or 'slip' with 'sleep' recurs in the Gawain-poet's other investigations of the relation between sleep and morally questionable behaviour.
The poet embellishes the description of the aftermath of Belshazzar's feast in Cleanness to include a depiction of sleep not found in his sources, thereby enriching the didactic (de)construction of the characters' ethical identity. The Gawain-poet's narrative of Belshazzar's downfall is an expanded version of the end of Daniel 5, (65) which does not mention sleep itself but simply states, 'on that night Balshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was killed'. (66) While earlier acts of mealtime hospitality in Cleanness--such as in the Parable of the Wedding Feast or God's visit to Abraham--are models of courtesy, this final mealtime exemplum instead showcases the debauchery and sacrilege of Belshazzar's court. (67) When Belshazzar and his retinue are to be divinely punished for their improper conduct during feasting, they are slain, appropriately, during the sleep that is produced by (and continues) their gluttonous excess, their lack of courteous self-control:
Segges slepande were slayne er pay slyppe myzt; Vche hous heyred watz withinne a hondewhyle. Baltazar in his bed watz beten to depe. (68)
This mention of 'segges slepande' (and the associated 'slipping' or cowardly escape they would otherwise have sought) is the only instance of 'sleep' in Cleanness. Here, at the climax of the poem, sleep is deployed to make the characters' moral state--their intertwined social and spiritual failures--legible in a way that resonates with the other poems in the manuscript, and with other premodern English literature.
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, sleep figures most famously in Gawain's bedside dalliances; however, the first instance of the word 'slepe' in the poem in fact relates to conduct during a feast. When Bertilak arrives at Arthur's court and asks for the governor, he is greeted initially by a 'swoghe sylence':
As al were slypped vpon slepe so slaked hor lotez In hyze-- I deme hit not al for doute But sum for cortaysye. (69)
While Nicholls proposes that the court keeps quiet to comply with the etiquette of hierarchy, (70) this literal reading seems more generous than the text invites. The poets comment that the courtiers are silent 'not al for doute | But sum for cortaysye' surely has ironic overtones: the poet may be indulgent towards their failure to respond with courteous speech, but nonetheless emphasises that this is to be interpreted as a failure, particularly by remarking that they all fall silent as though they had slipped into sleep. Sleep, as the antithesis of proper conduct in a mealtime setting such as this one, symbolises the behavioural ambiguities of this silence. This metaphorical sleep suggests either that the courtiers are not perfectly courteous, or that courtesy alone is not always a sufficient code of conduct for a chivalric society; or, perhaps, it suggests both.
Elsewhere in Gawain, the poet again uses sleep to hint at ways in which courtesy risks sliding into uncourageous inaction. When Lady Bertilak approaches Gawain's bed at Hautdesert, he is drowsing: 'in slomeryng he slode.' (71) Once Gawain perceives the lady, he pretends to be fully asleep: he 'let as he slepte'. (72) The poem focuses less on Gawains recovery from his traveller's fatigue than on his deceitful pretence of being asleep because he does not know what else to do when confronted with the Lady. Ad Putter perceptively observes that this pretence demonstrates Gawain's 'awareness of the intricate realities of social interaction'; (73) but Gawain, by initially choosing sleep-like inactivity, also allows the ensuing morally precarious situation to occur and sets a spatial and behavioural precedent for the subsequent mornings. Seeming to sleep, then, in hall and bedchamber, produces results which seem to resemble courtesy, reminding the reader that true courtesy is not merely an outward show of self-restraint: it ought to correspond to inward virtue rather than abstention from action. Sleep defines a boundary between courtesy and passivity in Gawain, offering a meditation upon when, and by what, politeness ought to be tempered in pursuit of virtuous conduct.
In Pearl, sleep again delineates both physical and figurative boundaries. The dream narrator's sleep, as the vehicle for his vision of the maiden and the New Jerusalem, begins when he 'slode vpon a slepjng-slagte | On pat precios perle withouten spot'. (74) This is, of course, a different kind of sleep: a contemplative sleep with positive spiritual connotations. It produces a dream vision that is divinely inspired and leads to the dreamer's spiritual awakening. (75) This sleep, however, also shows the need for the dreamer's spiritual enlightenment. Thus, in Pearl, sleep is again used to illustrate improper conduct. When the narrator is punished for trying to cross the river, his hubris results in the end not just of his vision but also of his sleep: in seeking to cross one boundary, he is instead redirected across another. (76) As in the other three poems (though with different complexities), sleep in Pearl reads as an ethical event. While Spearing notes the dreamer s failure to adequately 'respond to and understand his visionary experience' and his initial tendency towards 'treating a person as if she were a thing', he does not question the cause of the dream. (77) The dream offers moral instruction, yet the dreamer's act of falling asleep is itself dubious, because his sleep-inducing and excessive grieving represents a lack of both spiritual and social decorum. Significantly, the poets description of the transition to the dream as 'sliding into sleep' marks the unstable ethical state of the narrator's doctrinally and socially inappropriate mourning in the same terms as those used to point up unethical sleep elsewhere in his poetic oeuvre.
The rhetorical specificity of these entrances to sleep signals their ethical import within the context of MS Cotton Nero A.x and alliterative poetry more broadly. In each of the instances from Patience, Cleanness, Gawain, and Pearl, discussed above, 'slide' or 'slip' is the verb that precipitates the characters' sleep. For the Gawain-poet's society, these verbs, as synonyms for 'fall', could also mean 'to fall into sin or evil', or 'to fall into error'. (78) By using signifiers with contemporary semantic connotations of downward moral transitions, the poet further highlights sleep's symbolic potential. These are, of course, alliterative poems, but it would be difficult to argue that the Gawain-poet was too dull to think of a synonym for 'slide', or for 'sleep'. Appropriately, other descriptions of sleep in these four poems do not use this phrasing. When Jonah is in the belly of the whale, he sleeps 'As in the bulk of pe bote per he byfore sleped': (79) despite this connection, this sleep has a more positive spiritual nature than the earlier, since Jonah has now acknowledged his failings, and the poet accordingly does not figure him as 'sliding' into sleep. Other sleep in Gawain does signify on more than the mundane level, but not with the same meanings as the 'sliding' instances. When Gawain is journeying through the wilderness, for instance, the poets comment that 'Ner slayn wyth pe slete he sleped in his yrnes | Mo ny3tez ^en innoghe' demonstrates Gawains successful endurance of hardships. (80) Later, his troubled sleep the night before his journey to the Green Chapel communicates his trepidation about the coming ordeal, and perhaps also remorse for his recent unethical acceptance of the girdle. (81)
By contrast, the collocation of 'slide' or 'slip' with 'sleep', when occurring in other poems, seems to have been employed primarily for its alliterative utility. For instance, in the frequently alliterating Avowyng of Arthur, Arthur exhausts himself fulfilling his vow to kill the boar, and 'Forwerre, slidus he on slepe: | No lengur myghte he wake . (82) As mentioned previously, this romance's description of sleep, roughly contemporary with the works of the Gawainpoet, appears perfunctorily experiential rather than ethical. St Erkenwald's use of this phrasing does have ethical import: when the people of London look upon a saint-like figure in his reopened tomb, they see him 'als freshe hyn ^e face ... | As he in sounde sodanly were slippid opon slepe'. (83) Whether or not one gives credence to the view of shared authorship for Erkenwald and the Cotton Nero poems, (84) this partial resonance with the (other) works of the Gawain-poet is not surprising, given the two writers' shared Cheshire milieu and alliterative form. Erkenwald's figurative construction of sleep, as the poem's hagiographical affiliations would suggest, stands in a different corner of the term's semantic field: it was a common belief in the period, as Ruth Morse observes, that a miraculously preserved corpse (one that could, for instance, appear to be a person merely asleep) connoted sanctity. (85) Erkenwald, therefore, uses sleep to establish the pious figure's irreproachable ethical state, rather than to question it. Unlike its formal parallels in the Cotton Nero poems, then, this 'slipping into sleep' does not have a moral valence to which such a detail contributes.
Alternatively, other alliterative poems focus primarily on the positive role of sleep as the vehicle for dream visions. Several of the shorter poems in the Piers Plowman tradition alliterate on 's' in the line in which the narrator enters sleep, but they neither use 'slip' or 'slide', nor share the Gawain-poet's ethical concerns regarding sleepers themselves. (86) William Langland's Piers Plowman, itself roughly contemporaneous with the Gawain-poet's writings as the other major alliterative Ricardian poem, does treat sleep in ways that carry moral implications, but without the Gawain-poet's rhetorical construction. David Johnson observes that, given exegetical and homiletic perspectives on how context and type of sleep determines whether it is slothful and sinful or virtuous, Will's sleep has positive moral qualities. (87) This view is particularly persuasive in light of the language used when Will enters sleep. The word 'sleep' in Piers Plowman is rarely part of the alliteration of the lines in which it occurs, and 'slide' or 'slip', with their connotations of self-propelled but improper movement, are never used to describe the entrance to sleep. (88) Instead, Langland tends to place the emphasis on external agency in the causation of the narrator's sleep: for instance, 'I bablede on my bedes pei brouyte me aslepe', and 'reson hadde rupe on me and rokked me aslepe'. (89) Here, Langland highlights the heuristic nature of sleep as a religiously guided vehicle travelling towards the next vision. While Will is infrequently responsible for producing his own sleep, on one occasion his contumacious rebuke of Reason makes him, like the dreamer in Pearl, responsible for being propelled out of it. (90) Will laments losing his sleep, because 'slepyng hadde I grace | To wite what dowel is, ac wakyng neuere': here, sleep is valued as a state of spiritual enlightenment, and perhaps less ambiguously so than in Pearl. (91)
In emphasising the extent to which the Gawain-poet is distinctive (within the context of the alliterative revival) in deploying a rhetorically specific mode of exploring ethical ambiguities both marginal and central to behavioural ideals, it is certainly not my intention to claim that sleep is insignificant in other early English literature. Nor does sleep in the Gawain-poet's texts always or only have negative values; its positive side, as a constructive ethical act, is available in Pearl--but precariously so. Balance is immanent in courtesy, and sleep, in the Cotton Nero poems, offers a distinctive way of marking certain (potential) deviations from measured conduct. The Gawain-poet's interest in the ways in which literary sleep can be read produces a motif of the ethical intertwined with the experiential; it is a mode of examining transgressive boundary-crossing that itself shows the ability to cross genre boundaries in contributing to romance, dream vision, and devotional literature--that is, to each of the Cotton Nero poems' fused spiritual and secular codes of conduct.
IV. 'Sleep no more': Shakespeare's Machiavels
Methought I heard a voice cry "Sleep no more, Macbeth does murder sleep"--the innocent sleep. (92)
In Shakespeare's Macbeth and Richard III, sleep is again slippery; not, as in the Gawain-poet's works, due to the semantics of sleeps onset, but rather due to sleep's elusiveness. Yet, there are close parallels between the implications of sleep in these two literary oeuvres, despite the two centuries that separate their composition. For Macbeth, sleep is what 'knits up the ravelled sleave of care'. It is
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast. (93)
This resonates with, Shakespeare's near-contemporary, Sidney's Astrophil and Stella (1580s), where sleep is cast as a positive:
sleepe, o sleepe, the certaine knot of peace, The baiting place of wit, the balme of woe, The poore man's wealth, the prisoner's release, Th'indifferent Judge betweene the high and low. (94)
However, Shakespeare's representation of sleep also parallels medieval representations. Here, as in the Gawain-poet's works, sleep is again connected to feasting, and to what comes after feasting; it is the 'second course', it is associated with 'life's feast', though--as in the earlier representations --sleep's valences are again problematic. With some recent auspicious exceptions, Shakespearean debts to medieval forebears remain under-appreciated. (95) There has been some critical attention to the frequency and variety of representations of sleep in Shakespeare's plays, from The Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream to the tragedies and histories; (96) however, this attention has not extended to a recognition of the debt that Shakespeare owes to medieval representations of sleep, or consequently, to some of the ethical and behavioural resonances that Shakespearean sleep carries.
Ronald Hall and David Bevington provide valuable surveys of aspects of sleep in early modern drama, but the temporal comparisons in their articles are focused on contrasts rather than continuities between medieval literature and Shakespeare. (97) Their view that there was no medieval precedent for Shakespearean representations of sleep may be due to the particular medieval genres selected for comparison. In making distinctions between medieval literature and Shakespeare, Hall mentions only medieval dream visions, while Bevington mentions only medieval drama, thus comparing spiritual medieval texts to secular renaissance ones. However, comparing secular with secular suggests something rather different; and to compare medieval romance with Shakespearean drama is to recall that Shakespeare read and drew upon chivalric romance. (98)
William Sherman has observed that 'Shakespeare's entire corpus testifies to a deep and enduring preoccupation with sleep and dreams'. (99) However, Sherman claims that in Shakespearean drama, sleep is not therapeutic and nor is it a positive force. Shakespeare's troubled insomniacs in Macbeth and Richard III suggest that, on the contrary, sleep does have positive connotations in these plays, but ones that are difficult to obtain or are out of reach. That sleep, in these plays, is desired by but unavailable to the guiltily transgressive only strengthens the idea that sleep is to be understood as therapeutic and positive. In Galenic medicine, which entered Western Europe c. 1070-1300 via Arabic medicine and, despite challenges, persisted through the sixteenth century, sleep was considered one of the six 'non-natural' influences on the body. (100) Significantly, sleep was understood to enable the restorative transformation of food into the four humours. This scientific understanding of sleep--proper sleep--is a positive one, and its implications surface in Shakespeare's Macbeth, where the title character famously murders sleep, and his wife negotiates her troubled conscience through unnatural sleep-walking. By referring to Lady Macbeth's sleep-walking as 'A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of sleep and do the effects of watching', (101) the Doctor figures restful sleep as the natural, normative state that is ruptured by the transgressive actions of the Macbeths. Macbeth's own nights are repeatedly afflicted by 'wicked' or 'terrible' dreams: (102) like his wife's, Macbeth's sleep is in disorder, too. The disorder represented by all this irregular sleep is both somatic and societal; for the upside-down world the Macbeths create, absent sleep represents absent order and peace. Sleep, a 'non-natural' influence, is ironically an object of desire that represents the natural.
In Richard III, as in Macbeth, disturbed sleep is a marker of a troubled soul, of one who has put the world out of joint: Richard too longs for the 'sweet sleep' that ghosts, or guilt, disturb. Richard refers to his nephews, whom he terms the 'bastards in the Tower', as 'Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep's disturbers': (103) his guilt, anxiety, and fear obstruct his sleep. Indeed, 'disturbed' and 'perturbed' are the perennial characteristics of Richard's sleep. Early in the play, Queen Margaret wishes that Richard will have 'no sleep' except 'while some tormenting dream | Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils'. (104) Anne's speech about Richard's disturbed sleep troubling her own shows that Margaret has gotten her wish:
"never yet one hour in his bed Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep, But with his timorous dreams was still awaked". (105)
Moreover, when Richard attempts to sleep the night before the Battle of Bosworth, at which he will lose his life, ghosts enter to reproach and curse him. The shades of the Lancastrian King Harry and his son, Richard's brother Clarence, and his two little nephews, among others, all command Richard to 'despair and die' while inviting his opponent to 'Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace and wake in joy'. (106) Here, Anne's ghost tells Richard, 'thy wife, | That never slept a quiet hour with thee, | Now fills thy sleep with perturbations', (107) articulating the ethical disorder of Richards sleep in the same way that the Doctor articulates Lady Macbeth's.
V. Sleep and the Premodern Cultural Imagination
Whereas the Gawain-poet's characters are often shown to be unethical by excess of deep sleep, Shakespearean machiavels are shown to be unethical by their inability to sleep deeply. (108) More significantly, however, the representations of sleep in the Gawain-poet's writings and in Shakespeare's Macbeth and Richard III, and others in between, share a focus on ruptured or improper sleep, on sleep out of order. Whether too much or too little, sleeping at the wrong time or being unable to sleep at the right time, these forms of imbalance offer ethical commentaries. While there is some differentiation between them, there is also a more profound continuity.
To begin with, for both the Gawain-poet and Shakespeare, sleep implicates and explores conscience. At the risk of oversimplifying, the way in which the Gawain-poet uses sleep supports a collective ethic in which figures demonstrate guilt according to a universal understanding of conscience. Here, everyone is supposed to aspire to the same ideal behaviour and to feel guilty for transgression, as Jonah, Gawain, and the Pearl-narrator do (at least eventually). Shakespeare's Macbeth and Richard III both preserve and diverge from this medieval use of sleep. On the one hand, the murderers' reprehensibility and guilt is again shown in a universally legible way through their insomnia or troubled sleep; but on the other hand, Shakespeare's use of sleep in these plays is employed as a way of delving further into the murderers' individual subjectivity. Patience's Jonah, Cleanness's immoral sleepers, and the Arthurian courts metaphorical sleep are immoral because of the manner and context of these sleeps; the wrongness of Shakespeare's insomniacs is rooted in the same understanding of the moral, medical, and social implications of unbalanced sleep, yet they further reveal their guilt through their inability to sleep.
The fact that Shakespeare's Macbeths and Richard III cannot control or disguise what their sleep reveals about their conscience is like the medieval representations: as in the Gawain-poet's works and romances such as Melusine and Malory's Morte Darthur, sleep, or lack thereof, does not lie with respect to the figure's ethical state. Critics often focus on the increasing self-awareness and performativity of identity in early modern literature and drama. Of course, we need look no further than Chaucers Pardoner for a medieval example of deceptive self-performance, (109) but Katharine Eisaman Maus does convincingly argue that 'in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England the sense of discrepancy between "inward disposition" and "outward appearance" seems' especially 'urgent and consequential', and for more people. (110) In Mauss perceptive reading, machiavels such as Shakespeare's Richard III deploy the gap between inward self and outward self for personal gain--to manipulate others and pursue political power:
By recognising, or constructing, a boundary isolating himself from other people, the machiavel enables himself to organise his behaviour on the basis of the difference between what he knows about himself and what others can learn of him. In relation to other characters, he exploits the invisibility of his own interior. (111)
Yet this difference between the inward truth and intentions, and the outward seeming or performance of self, is precisely what is confounded by the machiavels' relationship to sleep: like a dramatic soliloquy, the troubled sleep of Shakespearean murderers tells the audience what the character really thinks or means. More so than a soliloquy, however, such sleep serves as an ethical commentary, and it does not have to break the dramatic frame in order to confound deceptive performance; it is simultaneously the outward performance of self and the inward self. Thus, for Shakespeare's Macbeth as for Sir Gawain, unconsciousness, whether achieved or attempted, bodies forth an ethical truth.
I am certainly not claiming that Shakespeare must have read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but rather arguing for a recognition of continuities within a shared habit of signifying through sleep. The preface to William Thynnes 1532 edition of Chaucer states that, Chaucer apart, in medieval England 'all good letters were layde a slepe'. (112) This literary judgement, repeated by Robert Braham in 1555, (113) deploys sleep to register value and thus to articulate the early 'modern' present in opposition to a constructed 'medieval' past. Yet, the early modern rhetoric of sleep also continues a medieval way of thinking in which the when, how, and why of sleep charts sleepers' ethical state, and even the very terms of this value judgement--by deploying sleep as a metaphor for a neglect of duties--betray unacknowledged debts to medieval predecessors. I hope I have shown that deployments of sleep in Middle English and early modern secular literature reward critical scrutiny, and that Shakespeare's use of the rich implications of sleep sometimes continues this long insular tradition. These texts' shared interest in the ways in which sleep can be read shows close ties between literature and practice, and suggests the importance of a language of sleep in the premodern cultural imagination.
(1) William Caxton, The Book of the Ordre of Chyvalry, ed. Alfred T P Byles, EETS, o.s. 168 (London: Oxford University Press, 1926), p. 122, line 8-p. 123, line 10. Unless otherwise stated, all italics and translations are the authors own.
(2) Thomas Malory, The Works of Sir Thomas Malory, ed. Eugene Vinaver, rev. P J. C. Field, 3rd edn, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990) (hereafter Malory, Works), iii, 1215, lines 11-21.
(3) The Peterborough Chronicle, 1070-1154, ed. Cecily Clark (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), p. 56, lines 55-56; William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Third, in The Norton Shakespeare, eds Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, Katharine Eisaman Maus, and Andrew Gurr, 2nd edn (London: Norton, 2008) (hereafter Norton Shakespeare), 547-628, iv. 4. 22-24. This discourse also follows biblical commentary, such as that in Psalms 44. 23: 'Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? / Arise, cast us not off for ever' (The Book ofPsalms: Authorised King James Version (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1999)).
(4) Diana Webb, Privacy and Solitude in the Middle Ages (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 98; Michael Thompson, The Medieval Hall: The Basis of Secular Domestic Life, 600-1600 ad (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1995), p. 117; John Blair, 'Hall and Chamber: English Domestic Planning 1000-1250', in Manorial Domestic Buildings in England and Northern France, eds Gwyn Meirion-Jones and Michael Jones (London: Society of Antiquaries of London, 1991), pp. 1-21 (p. 15).
(5) In the holistic understanding offered by Galenic medicine and by pre-Cartesian views of the interrelations between mind and body, the implications of sleep ranged further beyond the somatic. For a comparable argument about seventeenth-century alterations to premodern mentalities, see Helen Cooper, Shakespeare and the Medieval World (London: Methuen Drama, 2010), pp. 7-8.
(6) Alex Davis, Chivalry and Romance in the English Renaissance (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2003), esp. pp. 28-31; Andrew King, The Faerie Queene and Middle English Romance: The Matter of Just Memory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), p. 31.
(7) Cummings and Simpson, 'Introduction', in Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance in Literary History, eds Cummings and Simpson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 4.
(8) Wallace, Premodern Places: Calais to Surinam, Chaucer to Aphra Behn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004); Cooper, Shakespeare and the Medieval World; Simpson, Reform and Cultural Revolution: 1350-1547 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
(9) Garrett A. Sullivan's recent study, Sleep, Romance and Human Embodiment: Vitality from Spenser to Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), draws attention to the undeserved neglect of literary sleep. Sullivan's productive analysis addresses early modern responses to classical ideas, but not to medieval traditions.
(10) See J. Allan Mitchell, Ethics and Exemplary Narrative in Chaucer and Gower (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2004), pp. 13-14; Alcuin Blamires, Chaucer, Ethics, and Gender (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 8.
(11) Readerships widened with social mobility in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. See Richard Firth Green, Poets and Princepleasers: Literature and the English Court in the Late Middle Ages (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), pp. 9-10; Roberta L. Krueger, 'Introduction: Teach Your Children Well: Medieval Conduct Guides for Youths', in Medieval Conduct Literature: An Anthology ofVernacular Guides to Behaviour for Youths, with English Translations, ed. Mark D. Johnston (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009), pp. ix-xxxiii (p. xii); Mark Addison Amos, '"For Manners Make Man": Bourdieu, de Certeau, and the Common Appropriation of Noble Manners in the Book of Courtesy', in Medieval Conduct, eds Kathleen Ashley and Robert A. Clark (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), pp. 23-48 (pp. 45-46); Karl H. Dannenfeldt, 'Sleep: Theory and Practice in the Late Renaissance', Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 41 (1986), 415-41 (p. 420).
(12) Jonathan W Nicholls, The Matter of Courtesy: A Study of Medieval Courtesy Books and the Gawain-Poet (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1985); Ad Putter, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and French Arthurian Romance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), esp. pp. 51-139; for an analysis of the prandial focus of one such conduct text, see Claire Sponsler, ' Eating Lessons: Lydgates "Dietary" and Consumer Conduct', in Medieval Conduct, eds Ashley and Clark, pp. 1-22.
(13) Andrew Borde, Regyment of Helthe, in The Babees Book, ed. F. J. Furnivall, EETS, o.s. 32 (London: Trubner, 1868), pp. 244-48 (p. 244).
(14) Borde, Regyment of Helthe, p. 245.
(15) See also, for instance, 'A Diatorie', lines 27-29 and 37-38, in The Babees Book, ed. Furnivall, pp. 54-59; William Bulleyn, Bulwarke of defence againste all Sicknes, Sornes, and Woundes, in ibid., pp. 240-43; Hugh Rhodes, The Boke of Nurture, in ibid., pp. 61-114; John Lydgate, The Dietary (see n. 16, below); William Caxton, Gouernayle of Helthe (see n. 18, below). For other dietaries less accessible in modern editions--such as Thomas Elyot, Castel of Helth; Levinus Lemnius, Touchstone of Complexions; and Thomas Cogan, Haven of Health --see Dannenfeldt, 'Sleep: Theory and Practice'. While most of these manuals date to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Nicholls (Matter of Courtesy, pp. 145-57) demonstrates that they continue the concerns of the infrequently extant thirteenth- and fourteenth-century courtesy books.
(16) John Lydgate, The Dietary, in Codex Ashmole 61: A Compilation of Popular Middle English Verse, ed. George Shuffelton (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2008), pp. 277-79, lines 49-58.
(17) George Shuffelton, 'The Dietary: Introduction', in Codex Ashmole 61, ed. Shuffelton, pp. 528-31 (p. 528).
(18) William Caxton, The Gouernayle of Helthe: With the Medecyne of the Stomacke, ed. William Blades (London: Blades, East & Blades, 1858), sigs Bviv-Bviir.
(19) See n. 15, above. For an overview of the early modern dietaries' discussion of sleep, see Dannenfeldt, 'Sleep: Theory and Practice'.
(20) Siegfried Wenzel, The Sin of Sloth: 'Acedia' in Medieval Thought and Literature (Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 1960), p. 70.
(21) Robert of Brunne's 'Handlyng Synne', ed. Frederick J. Furnivall, EETS, o.s. 119 (London: Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1901), p. 144, lines 4253-59.
(22) See Gerald Robert Owst, ed., Preaching in Medieval England: An Introduction to Sermon Manuscripts of the Period c. 1350-1450 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926), p. 174, citing BL, MS Harley 4196, fol. 88v.
(23) Rhodes, Boke of Nurture, pp. 72-73, lines 57-59.
(24) Kathleen Ashley and Robert L. A. Clark, 'Medieval Conduct: Texts, Theories, Practices', in Medieval Conduct, eds Ashley and Clark, pp. ix-xx.
(25) For Pierre Bourdieu (Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), esp. p. 94), habitus is anchored in the body, and mediated by language, but only secondarily; Katharine Breen (Imagining an English Reading Public, 1150-1400 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 5-8) views (medieval) habitus as more conscious. Elements of both unconscious habit, and conscious formation and regulation, are relevant here.
(26) The Avowyng of Arthur, Sir Gawain: Eleven Romances and Tales, ed. Thomas Hahn (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995), pp. 119-50, lines 271-72.
(27) Ywain and Gawain, in Sir Perceval of Galles and Ywain and Gawain, ed. Mary Flowers Braswell (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995), pp. 84-187, lines 47-54.
(28) Chretien de Troyes, Le Chevalier au Lion (Yvain), ed. Mario Roques (Paris: Champion, 1960); The Knight with the Lion (Yvain), in Arthurian Romances, trans. W W Kibler (London: Penguin, 2004), pp. 295-380 (p. 295).
(29) Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trans. Sir Thomas Hoby, ed. J. H. Whitfield (London: Dent, 1974), p. 36.
(30) William Shakespeare, The First Part of Henry the Sixth, in Norton Shakespeare, pp. 475-538, iv. 3. 29.
(31) Chaucer, 'The Miller's Tale', in The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd edn (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), pp. 68-77, lines 3643-47; Chaucer, 'The Reeves Tale', in ibid., pp. 78-84, lines 4162-67; and Chaucer, 'The Manciple's Prologue', in ibid., pp. 282-83, lines 9-24.
(32) Piers Plowman: The C-text, ed. Derek Pearsall (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1994), passus VI, lines 415-18.
(33) Piers Plowman, ed. Pearsall, passus VII, lines 1-7.
(34) Chaucer, 'Manciple's Prologue', line 16.
(35) Melusine, ed. A. K. Donald, EETS, e.s. 68 (London: Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1895), p. 29.
(36) Melusine, ed. Donald, p. 28, lines 25-26.
(37) Jean d'Arras, Melusine, ed. M. C. Brunet (Paris: Jannet, 1854), pp. 36-37.
(38) Malory, Works, I, 253, lines 26-27.
(39) Cf. Lancelot: Roman en prose du XIIIe siecle, ed. Alexandre Micha, 9 vols (Geneva: Droz, 1978-83), iv, 166: 'they were so weary that it befitted them to rest until the heat passed' ('si furent si las et si travillie qu'il les couvint a reposer tant que li chauz fust trespassez).
(40) Malory, Works, I, 253, lines 30-31.
(41) Eugene Vinaver, Commentary, in Malory, Works, in, 1414.
(42) See Krueger, 'Teach Your Children Well', p. xix; Anna Dronzek, 'Gendered Theories of Education in Fifteenth-Century Conduct Books', in Medieval Conduct, eds Ashley and Clark, pp. 135-59. Although some courtesy books and dietaries were directed more towards men, their readerships included women, and their tenets were sometimes shared by courtesy literature specifically addressed to women, such as 'The Good Wife Taught Her Daughter', and The Book of the Knight of the Tower.
(43) Sir Orfeo, in The Middle English Breton Lays, eds Anne Laskaya and Eve Salisbury (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995), pp. 26-41, lines 63-82.
(44) Constance Bullock-Davies, '"Ympe-tre" and "Nemeton"', Notes and Queries, n.s. 9 (1962), 6-9; A. E. Lasater, 'Under the Ympe-Tre or: Where the Action is in Sir Orfeo', Southern Quarterly, 12 (1974), 353-63; Sharon Ann Coolidge, 'The Grafted Tree in Sir Orfeo: A Study in the Iconography of Redemption', Ball State University Forum, 23 (1982), 62-68.
(45) John Block Friedman, 'Eurydice, Heurodis, and the Noon-Day Demon', Speculum, 41.1 (1966), 22-29.
(46) Friedman, p. 26.
(47) Corinne Saunders, Rape and Ravishment in the Literature ofMedieval England (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2001), pp. 228-33.
(48) Dronzek ('Fifteenth-Century Conduct Books', p. 151) emphasises important differences in conduct manuals' instruction of male and female readers: 'the consequences for womens loss of honor took on concrete physical form, while those for men did not.' However, sleep suggests some overlaps in terms of ethical standards and regulation.
(49) John Skelton, 'Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell' (c. 1495; rev. and printed 1523), in John Skelton: The Complete English Poems, ed. John Scattergood (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983), pp. 312-57, line 191.
(50) Henry Howard, 'The Great Macedon', in Poems, ed. Emrys Jones (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), p. 29, lines 13-14.
(51) Philip Sidney, The Old Arcadia, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 27, 30.
(52) Sidney, Old Arcadia, pp. 242; 241.
(53) Sullivan, Sleep, Romance and Human Embodiment, pp. 55-63.
(54) Sullivan, esp. pp. 50-51.
(55) Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self--Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 182-83; Sullivan, pp. 29-46.
(56) Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene, ed. A. C. Hamilton, rev. 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 2007), Book II, canto xii, stanzas 72-80 (72. 5; 80. 1-2).
(57) Malcolm Andrew, 'Theories of Authorship', in A Companion to the Gawain-Poet, eds Derek Brewer and Jonathan Gibson (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2007), pp. 23-33. Critical consensus assumes single authorship for these four poems extant in BL, MS Cotton Nero A.x.
(58) D. S. Brewer, 'Courtesy and the Gawain-poet', in Patterns of Love and Courtesy: Essays in Memory of C. S. Lewis, ed. John Lawlor (London: Edward Arnold, 1966), pp. 54-85; Nicholls, Matter of Courtesy; Putter, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and French Arthurian Romance, esp. pp. 51-139.
(59) Patience, in The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, eds Malcom Andrew and Ronald Waldron (London: Edward Arnold, 1979), pp. 185-206, lines 183-86.
(60) Patience, p. 193, note to line 186.
(61) Ad Putter, An Introduction to the Gawain-Poet (Harlow: Longman, 1996), p. 139.
(62) Lorraine Kochanske Stock, 'The "Poynt" of Patience', in Text and Matter: New Critical Perspectives of the 'Pearl'-Poet, eds Robert J. Blanch, Miriam Youngerman Miller, and Julian N. Wasserman (Troy, NY: Whitston, 1991), pp. 163-75 (p. 169).
(63) Patience, lines 199-200.
(64) Patience, lines 466-68.
(65) A. C. Spearing, 'Poetic Identity', in A Companion to the Gawain-Poet, eds Brewer and Gibson, pp. 35-51 (p. 47).
(66) Biblia Sacra: Iuxta Vulgatum Versionem, ed. Robert Weber, 2 vols (Stuttgart: Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, 1975), n, Daniel 5. 30: 'eadem nocte interfectus est Balthasar rex Chaldeus.'
(67) The structural contrasts of Cleanness's five exempla and the distinctiveness of Belshazzar's feast--but not of the sleep that follows--are addressed by Nicholls (Matter of Courtesy, p. 85) and Jane K. Lecklider (Cleanness: Structure and Meaning (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997), pp. 202-14).
(68) Cleanness, in The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, eds Andrew and Waldron, pp. 111-84, lines 1785-87.
(69) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, eds Andrew and Waldron, pp. 207-300 (hereafter Gawain), lines 243; 244-47.
(70) Nicholls, p. 123.
(71) Gawain, line 1182.
(72) Gawain, line 1190.
(73) Putter, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and French Arthurian Romance, p. 121.
(74) Pearl, in The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, eds Andrew and Waldron, pp. 53-110, lines 59-60.
(75) A. C. Spearing, Medieval Dream-Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), pp. 116-18.
(76) Pearl, lines 1170-71.
(77) Spearing, Medieval Dream-Poetry, pp. 119, 121; Nicholls (Matter of Courtesy, p. 111) notes the causes and implications of the dreamers ejection from his vision, but again neglects the entrance to sleep.
(78) See Middle English Dictionary, ed. Frances Mc Spar ran (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001).
(79) Patience, line 292.
(80) Gawain, lines 729-30.
(81) Gawain, lines 1991,2007.
(82) The Avowyng of Arthur, p. 126, lines 271-72.
(83) St Erkenwald, ed. Ruth Morse (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1975), p. 57, lines 89-92.
(84) As expressed most recently by John M. Bowers, An Introduction to the Gawain-Poet (Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 2012), esp. pp. 87-88; for a more balanced view, see Andrew, 'Theories of Authorship'.
(85) Ruth Morse, 'Introduction', in St Erkenwald, ed. Morse, pp. 7-53 (p. 18).
(86) See, for instance, Mum and the Sothsegger, in The Piers Plowman Tradition, ed. Helen Barr (London: Dent, 1993), pp. 135-202, lines 869-70; Wynnere andWastoure, in Wynnere and Wastoure and The Parlement of the Thre Ages, ed. Warren Ginsberg (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1992), pp. 13-29, lines 45-46; and The Parlement of the Thre Ages, in ibid., pp. 43-62, lines 100-03.
(87) David F. Johnson, 'In Somnium, In Visionem: The Figurative Significance of Sleep in Piers Plowman', in Loyal Letters: Studies on Mediaeval Alliterative Poetry &Prose, eds L. A. J. R. Houwen and A. A. MacDonald (Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 1994), pp. 240-45.
(88) Not even for Sloth, Langlands notorious, immoral sleeper. See William Langland, Piers Plowman: The B Version, eds George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson (London: Athlone Press, 1975), passus V lines 391,441; subsequent references to this edition are by passus and line number. The sleep discourse in the A and C texts is consistent with that of the B text: Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, C and Z Versions, ed. A. V C. Schmidt (London: Longman, 1995).
(89) Piers Plowman, V 8 and XV 11; see also VIII. 67. Among Will s other entrances to sleep, alliterative stress is on 'sleep' twice (see Pro. 10; XIX. 5); here, Langland foregoes opportunities to use 'slip' or 'slide'. Apart from XVI. 19-20, Will's other entrances to sleep do likewise use the word 'sleep', but do not alliterate on its 's' (see XI. 5, XIII. 21, XVIII. 4-5, and XX. 51).
(90) Piers Plowman, XI. 403-05.
(91) Piers Plowman, XI. 408-09; sleep in Chaucerian dream-visions may receive more textual attention than its share of critical attention suggests. See, however, Lisa J. Kiser, 'Sleep, Dreams, and Poetry in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess', Papers on Language &Literature, 19 (1983), 3-12. To Kiser's exploration of The Book of the Duchess's thematic interest in sleep can be added a recognition of the lengths to which the poem goes to foreground its complexity and centrality, since the narrator discusses 'slepe' thirty-four times in the first 300 lines, usually as a present absence that both is, and substitutes for, the object(s) of desire.
(92) William Shakespeare, Macbeth, in Norton Shakespeare, pp. 2579-2632, II. 2. 33-34.
(93) Shakespeare, Macbeth, II. 2. 35-38.
(94) Sidney, Astrophil and Stella, in The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney, ed. W A. Ringler, Jr (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), pp. 163-237, Sonnet 39, lines 1-4.
(95) Martha W Driver and Sid Ray, eds, Shakespeare and the Middle Ages: Essays on the Performance and Adaptation of the Plays with Medieval Sources or Settings (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009); Cooper, Shakespeare and the Medieval World; Ruth Morse, Helen Cooper, and Peter Holland, eds, Medieval Shakespeare: Pasts and Presents (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
(96) Sullivan, Sleep, Romance and Human Embodiment, pp. 72-96; see also n. 99 below.
(97) Ronald Hall, 'Sleeping Through Shakespeare', Shakespeare in Southern Africa, 12 (1999/2000), 24-32; David Bevington, 'Asleep Onstage', in From Page to Performance: Essays in Early English Drama, ed. John A. Alford (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995), pp. 51-83.
(98) Michael L. Hays, Shakespearean Tragedy as Chivalric Romance: Rethinking Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2003), p. 57; Cooper, Shakespeare and the Medieval World.
(99) William H. Sherman, 'Shakespearean Somniloquy: Sleep and Transformation in The Tempest', in RenaissanceTransformations:The Making ofEnglish Writing (1500-1650), eds Margaret Healy and Thomas Healy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009), pp. 177-91.
(100) The others are food and drink, inanition and repletion, air, exercise, and the passions or emotions. See Dannenfeldt, 'Sleep: Theory and Practice', pp. 415-16; Nancy G. Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), p. 101.
(101) Shakespeare, Macbeth, V. 1. 8-9.
(102) Shakespeare, Macbeth, ii. 2. 50-51; iii. 2. 19-21.
(103) Shakespeare, Richard III, iv. 2. 74-76.
(104) Shakespeare, Richard III, I. 3. 222-24.
(105) Shakespeare, Richard III, IV. 1. 82-84.
(106) Shakespeare, Richard III, v. 5. 89, 94, 103; v. 5. 104.
(107) Shakespeare, Richard III, V. 5. 113-15.
(108) However, after Gawain fails to confess his deception in retaining the girdle, he has quite a lot of trouble sleeping, in what may be a sign of troubled conscience (Gawain, lines 1991; 2007).
(109) Chaucer, 'The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale', in Riverside Chaucer, ed. Benson, pp. 193-202, see esp. lines 398-406.
(110) Katharine Eisaman Maus, Inwardness and Theater in the English Renaissance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 13.
(111) Maus, p. 49.
(112) James E. Blodgett, 'William Thynne (d. 1546)', in Editing Chaucer:The Great Tradition, ed. Paul G. Ruggiers (Norman, OK: Pilgrim, 1984), pp. 35-52 (p. 35).
(113) Robert Braham, 'The pistle to the reader', reproduced in Lydgate's Troy Book, ed. Henry Bergen, 4 vols, EETS, e.s. 97, 103, 106, and 156 (London: Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1906-35), iv (1935), 62-65 (p. 63).
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|Author:||Leitch, Megan G.|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2015|
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