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At Day's Close: Night in Times Past Paperback – October 17, 2006
30 of the World's Greatest Historical City Maps
A beautifully illustrated history of the world's most celebrated historical city maps, from the hubs of ancient civilization to sprawling modern mega-cities, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Ekirch reports that the ordinary householder spent more on his bed than on anything else in the house. People must have been confined pretty much to bed. It made me think of the way Shakespeare's will leaves his "second best bed" to his wife, a bequest biographers sometimes take to mean that they didn't have a very good marriage, but now that Ekirch's reportage is in, I think of it in a different way. In A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM, which takes place almost entirely during the night, the audience is allowed to "see" things it could never have seen even in moonlight and thus this must have contributed to the "magical" factor of the play for contemporary audience, a feeling we have long lost.
For us moderns, day and night are pretty much the same. Perhaps that's why our belief in elves, fairies, trolls, etc., has diminished. Thanks to Freud even our dreams have become more understandable.Read more ›
He explains just how pervasive night and dark was. Of people lost off dangerous roads, of streets hidden from daylight and moon light at night - and of falling into ditches, (or the kennels as they were then called) and having to chose the risk of falling into coal cellars on one side, or slipping into the kennels on the other. Of footpaths so ill formed that they were dangers in themselves. Of the distrust of anyone abroad at night, women not carrying candles were thought to be prostitutes and generally treated as thus. thefts at night were deemed burglaries and therefore viewed much more seriously than daylight thefts - indeed they were punishable by death.
The cultural icons of night were the devil, witches, werewolves and other nasty images, and in Italy they had a saying that dusk was when you couldn't tell a hound from a wolf. Interesting imagery.
The book suffers in some ways from not following a time line, or indeed a country, so quotes from the 14th century might easilyl follow a roman anecdote or something from 18th century England.
thematically it works though. It follows the general concepts of how night affected human psyche, of fires that were lit, and how they threw light. Of the types of lighting available, of curfews to prevent people being abroad.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mostly a book of quotes about sleep from the past several hundred years, with little sense of order or grouping. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ducky1
I got it just in some days, and just leaf it through but seams worth to by it. :)Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer Judit
A. Roger Ekirch’s poetic description glued me to “At Day’s Close.” Night rises, rather than falling. Evening thickens, and color drains from the landscape, as daylight recedes. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mikio Miyaki
This book is a great way of giving the reader an idea how life was lived in the past.Published 7 months ago by Topace