Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion


"A Sea Voyage" represents a trend in middle- and upper-class Americans to seek out transit as a means for restoration. Whereas it had been a staple of the U.S. leisure class throughout the long nineteenth-century to travel to a different destination to achieve rest and relaxation, it wasn't until the turn of the century that Americans began to view transit itself as a means for recuperation. 

An 1889 New York Times article, for example, expounds upon the "Advantages of a Sea Voyage":   
Booker T. Washington makes a similar observation in Up from Slavery (1901)* when he provides his account of his ocean voyage to Europe:

"Mr. Garrison had thoughtfully arranged to have us have one of the most comfortable rooms on the ship. The second or third day out I began to sleep, and I think that I slept at the rate of fifteen hours a day during the remainder of the ten days' passage. Then it was that I began to understand how tired I really was. These long sleeps I kept up for a month after we landed on the other side. It was such an unusual feeling to wake up in the morning and realize that I had no engagements; did not have to take a train at a certain hour; did not have an appointment to meet some one, or to make an address, at a certain hour. How different all this was from the experiences that I have been through when travelling, when I have sometimes slept in three different beds in a single night!"



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