"Demonic horrors and spirits dreamt up by the most exuberant, inventive prose writer of Elizabethan England." Hmm. The Terrors of the Night, or A Discourse of Apparitions by Thomas Nashe catapults (yes, to me the prose feels as if I've been catapulted from place to place in the author's mind) from an expansive treatment of what general terrors the night might hold such as fairies and devils and witches to the actual terrors of dreams with frequent interjections about the quality of the author's craft serving as breaks in the amusingly erratic text.
"I have rid a false gallop these three or four pages. Now I care not if I breathe me and walk soberly and demurely half-a-dozen turns, like a grave citizen going about to take the air."
"Fear, if I be not deceived, was the last pertinent matter I had under my displing, from which I fear I have strayed beyond my limits; and yet fear hath no limits, for to hell and beyond hell it sinks down and penetrates."
This is indeed a strange text, purposely dreamlike in its wanderings, and I could not help but be amused by the author's lack of faith in his own subject matter. Despite his brushes with both the magical and theological as the roots of night's terrors, he seems more convinced that digestive difficulties or "the confused giddy actions of our brains" cause our nightmares and visions, "that the fear of any expected evil is worse than the evil itself."
An exploration of possibilities, both probable and improbable. Playful. A bit tongue-in-cheek for sure.