Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Sleep, Romance and Human Embodiment
Vitality from Spenser to Milton


  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316505335

£ 22.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Garrett Sullivan explores the changing impact of Aristotelian conceptions of vitality and humanness on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature before and after the rise of Descartes. Aristotle's tripartite soul is usually considered in relation to concepts of psychology and physiology. However, Sullivan argues that its significance is much greater, constituting a theory of vitality that simultaneously distinguishes man from, and connects him to, other forms of life. He contends that, in works such as Sidney's Old Arcadia, Shakespeare's Henry IV and Henry V, Spenser's Faerie Queene, Milton's Paradise Lost and Dryden's All for Love, the genres of epic and romance, whose operations are informed by Aristotle's theory, provide the raw materials for exploring different models of humanness; and that sleep is the vehicle for such exploration as it blurs distinctions among man, plant and animal.

    • This topic - the relationships among sleep, epic and romance, and the theory of the Aristotelian tripartite soul - is highly pertinent to current concerns in early modern studies
    • Presents a new approach to literature's relation to histories of embodiment, vitality and humanness
    • Integrates critical conversations on genre and embodiment through detailed discussion of canonical texts by Spenser, Shakespeare, Dryden, Sidney and Milton
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a major new study with wide ranging implications for a variety of early modern interests - in the contested category of the human, in the ecological place of the human body in relation to its environment, in the legacy of Aristotelianism against the advent of Cartesianism, and in the relations between epic and romance.' Gail Paster, Folger Shakespeare Library

    '… a scholarly, intelligent and provocative study that raises many important questions about the relationship between genre and content that are certain to invite further debate.' Richard A. McCabe, Milton Quarterly

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316505335
    • length: 218 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Aristotelian Vitality Ascendant:
    1. 'Both plant and beast together': temperance, vitality and the romance alternative in Spenser's Bower of Bliss
    2. Sleeping minds: romance, affect and environment in Sidney's The Old Arcadia
    3. Sleep, history and 'life indeed' in Shakespeare's 1 and 2 Henry IV and Henry V
    Part II. Aristotelian Vitality Embattled:
    4. 'From the root springs lighter the green stalk': vegetality and humanness in Milton's Paradise Lost
    Part III. Aristotelian Vitality Undead:
    5. 'Desperate sloth, miscalled philosophy': Descartes and the post-Aristotelian romance episode in Dryden's All for Love
    Coda: beyond undeath.

  • Author

    Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, Pennsylvania State University
    Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr is Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of The Drama of Landscape: Land, Property, and Social Relations on the Early Modern Stage (1998) and Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster (2005). He has also edited numerous works, among which are The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy (with Emma Smith, 2010), Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England (with Mary Floyd-Wilson, 2007), Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion (with Patrick Cheney and Andrew Hadfield, 2007) and The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature (co-general editor with Alan Stewart, 2012).

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.