This essay focuses attention on the cognitive and spiritual work of the dream and the devotional labor of the Jesuit missionary in seventeenth-century Quebec, and views these often passionately opposed spiritual efforts—performed by the various and often passionately opposed peoples of Catholic France and “New France”—through the lens of gender. In the case of early modern Atlantic dreaming, gender and its confusions in the social imaginary are not tied to the historical practice of female-bodied persons. The femininity investigated here is positional and symbolic. There are many kinds of “female” in the early modern shake-up: the terms of sex and gender lose purchase in an avalanche of novel categories at least transitionally operative in the social and epistemological chaos of the period. Confronted by the colonial New World, European gender and other fundamental categories are visible as fragile arrays of power relations, grounded in opposing forms of consciousness.

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