At Day's Close: Night in Times Past

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 17, 2006 - History - 480 pages
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"Remarkable…Ekirch has emptied night's pockets, and laid the contents out before us." —Arthur Krystal, The New Yorker

Bringing light to the shadows of history through a "rich weave of citation and archival evidence" (Publishers Weekly), scholar A. Roger Ekirch illuminates the aspects of life most often overlooked by other historians—those that unfold at night. In this "triumph of social history" (Mail on Sunday), Ekirch's "enthralling anthropology" (Harper's) exposes the nightlife that spawned a distinct culture and a refuge from daily life.

Fear of crime, of fire, and of the supernatural; the importance of moonlight; the increased incidence of sickness and death at night; evening gatherings to spin wool and stories; masqued balls; inns, taverns, and brothels; the strategies of thieves, assassins, and conspirators; the protective uses of incantations, meditations, and prayers; the nature of our predecessors' sleep and dreams—Ekirch reveals all these and more in his "monumental study" (The Nation) of sociocultural history, "maintaining throughout an infectious sense of wonder" (Booklist).

 

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AT DAY'S CLOSE: Nights in Times Past

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Before the Industrial Revolution, the daily departure of the sun had effects on people far different from those we experience in our own brightly illuminated age. Why? A first-time author explains ... Read full review

Contents

P R E I_ U D E
59
Church and State
90
Navigating the Nightscape
118
P R E I_ U D E
155
Sociability Sex
185
Princes and Peers
210
Plebeians
227
P RE LUD E
261
Disturbances
285
Rhythms and Revelations
300
O C K C ROW
324
Notes
341
Index
415
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About the author (2006)

A. Roger Ekirch is a professor of history at Virginia Tech and the award-winning author of At Day’s Close, Birthright, and American Sanctuary. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.

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