Bedlam

‘[this] wonderful sleepless nights anthology made me wish for more “white nights’ Alberto Manguel

Allen & Unwin 1996 ISBN 1864480726 

Available from abebooks.com (pb used and new), amazon, and other good secondhand booksellers.

Many of literature’s well-known characters have spent nights sleepless: Heathcliff roamed the moors, Hemingway’s waiter didn’t want to close up for the night, Plath’s teenage self stayed up a month. And there are many others who can’t sleep for lust, for joy, for the burden of memory or madness, for despair or their unremitting consciousness. Each of these insomniacs has something special to tell us about the night, those secret hours when all good citizens should be asleep.

Bedlam presents passages on insomnia from world literature past and present. The more than fifty writers include Isak Dinessen, Marcel Proust, Raymond Carver, Marguerite Duras, Colette, Ovid, Christina Stead, Anton Chekhov, Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, Charles Simic, Vikram Seth, Virgilio Piñera, and Elizabeth Jolley.

‘Splendid idea — this rich anthology is the very antidote to sleep’
John Barth

‘its success is that one forgets the linking theme and just takes pleasure in the discovery of so much good writing from so many diverse sources. This is a rich, intelligent and dense book.’ Margaret Simons, The Australian’s Review of Books