Lincoln Dreamt He Died: The Midnight Visions of Remarkable Americans from Colonial Times to Freud
Before Sigmund Freud made dreams the cornerstone of understanding an individual's inner life, Americans shared their dreams unabashedly with one another through letters, diaries, and casual conversation. In this innovative book, highly regarded historian Andrew Burstein goes back for the first time to discover what we can learn about the lives and emotions of Americans, from colonial times to the beginning of the modern age. Through a thorough study of dreams recorded by iconic figures such as John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, as well as everyday men and women, we glimpse the emotions of earlier generations and understand how those feelings shaped their lives and careers, thus gaining a fuller, multi-dimensional sense of our own past. No one has ever looked at the building blocks of the American identity in this way, and Burstein reveals important clues and landmarks that show the origins of the ideas and values that remain central to who we are today.
yearning to share them and the scene with you.” Ibid., 56. 39. Charles Tenney to Adelaide Case, Apr. 11, 1862, in Tenney-Case Papers, UVA. 40. The Farmer’s Cabinet, Mar. 27, 1862; entry of July 6, 1863, in Charles F. Herberger, ed., A Yankee at Arms: The Diary of Augustus D. Ayling, 29th Massachuetts Volunteers (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1999), 126; Hampton Smith, ed., Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota
the last sensation he experienced before returning to his body. But rather than assert that anything special had occurred, he concluded: “I am so far from considering it any thing more than a dream, that I have committed it to paper rather as a curiosity than incontestable truth.” All well, except that Heman Harris was dead soon after recording the above. According to whoever it was who brought his story to press, there was something sublime, neither exclusively good nor explicitly evil, in “the
time, in fact, that she met Edward Riley, a musical instrument craftsman. In dreaming of an easy camaraderie, though, she was about to find life complicated. Her mother suddenly died, and Eliza was obliged to return to New London to help care for Mary. This made for a prolonged courtship. The first extant letter from Eliza, in New London, to her fiancé in Manhattan was penned in February 1826 and bore the salutation “my dear Edward.” He had thought, on the basis of something she had said,
her “Imagination Book” thoughts that sprung from being an Alcott: “Life is pleasanter than it used to be, and I don’t care about dying any more. . . . Had good dreams, and woke now and then to think, and watch the moon.” While Julian Hawthorne found Thoreau “unbeautiful,” young Louisa May found him both beautiful and captivating. To proceed, then, with Thoreau’s dream of his encounter with the elder Alcott, the two had just met up in a meadow: “We fell to quoting and referring to grand and
was denied—all furloughs were prohibited. He urged her to take heart. “I have a definite foreknowledge,” he said, “that your prayers shall be answered.” Though “the green earth in many places is saturated with the blood of the thousands who have fallen,” he would return to her. They wrote at least one letter per week, generally more than that, for the balance of the year. “I am loved. Thou art my betrothed,” he gleamed that fall. In January 1863, having just heard from another Ohio soldier