Fears, Phantasms, and Night Terrors

Shuttleworth Sally

in The Mind of the Child

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582563
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702327 | DOI:
Fears, Phantasms, and Night Terrors

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter examines discourses concerning childhood experiences of fears, phantasms, and night terrors in England during the 19th century. It discusses child psychiatrist Crichton Browne's claim that children were more susceptible to monomania or delusional insanity than adults. It also loooks at Charles West's diagnosis of night terrors. This chapter suggests that in mid-century texts, the very inexplicable quality of childhood dreams underscores their centrality and that the key to the sufferings of the present is to be found in the enigma of the terrified child, which is enigmatic not in its qualities of its innocence or joy but in the depth of its terror.

Keywords: child psychology; fears; phantasms; night terrors; Crichton Browne; monomania; delusional insanity; Charles West; childhood dream

Chapter.  7737 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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