By A. Roger Ekirch
Bringing gentle to the shadows of heritage via a "rich weave of quotation and archival evidence" (Publishers Weekly), student A. Roger Ekirch illuminates the features of lifestyles ordinarily missed via different historians—those that spread at evening.
In this "triumph of social history" (Mail on Sunday), Ekirch's "enthralling anthropology" (Harper's) exposes the nightlife that spawned a different tradition and a safe haven from day-by-day life.
Fear of crime, of fireplace, and of the supernatural; the significance of moonlight; the elevated occurrence of illness and demise at evening; night gatherings to spin wool and tales; masqued balls; lodges, taverns, and brothels; the thoughts of thieves, assassins, and conspirators; the protecting makes use of of incantations, meditations, and prayers; the character of our predecessors' sleep and dreams—Ekirch finds a majority of these and extra in his "monumental study" (The Nation) of sociocultural heritage, "maintaining all through an infectious feel of wonder" (Booklist).
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Additional resources for At Day's Close: Night in Times Past
Chance is a state of grace, a gift of heaven, permission to roll the dice without any possibility of repetition, without anguish. The attractions of completion come from its inaccessible character. The habit of cheating adorns definitive being in chance apparel. This morning a sentence of mine lacerated me, 'With women, chance can be seen . . ' Only the way mystics depict their condition can correspond to my laceration. There's no room for doubt now: intelligence must apprehend chance if it's to limit itself to its own domain, that is action.
Life reeks of death. Life is the folly of rolling dice without another thought - the insistence on a state of grace, on lack of consequences. To worry about consequences is the beginning of greed and anguish. The latter comes from the former: it's the trembling produced by chance. Often anguish punishes greed in its initial stages, drawing it on to its more developed perversion, anguish. In a general way, religion questions everything. And particular religions are structures that create the particular responses.
No compromise and no escape. In actuality I'm safe from them?! At least they'd confer legiti macy on my body. Which can't in truth be separated from them. Which can't be separated from them in truth. ) What if this urgent pain finally didn't matter? At least I'd have some hope of rest. Thinking stops for me, I'm in sunlight, no more worry. How The text is taken from the 'Games of chance' chapter of Guilty, tr. Bruce Boone (The Lapis Press, San Francisco, CA, 1 988), pp. 69-86. Originally published in French by Editions Gallimard in 1 944 as Le Coupable, the manuscript was produced berween 1 939 and 1 944.
At Day's Close: Night in Times Past by A. Roger Ekirch