By A. Roger Ekirch
Bringing mild to the shadows of heritage via a "rich weave of quotation and archival evidence" (Publishers Weekly), student A. Roger Ekirch illuminates the facets of lifestyles typically 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 unique 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 disease and dying at evening; night gatherings to spin wool and tales; masqued balls; hotels, taverns, and brothels; the techniques 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 some of these and extra in his "monumental study" (The Nation) of sociocultural background, "maintaining all through an infectious feel of wonder" (Booklist).
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Extra resources for At Day's Close: Night in Times Past
We might note also that Marx has been restored as an interpreter of modern culture by writers like Marshall Berman in All That is Solid Melts into Air (1983). Derek Sayer, in Capitalism and Modernity (1990), regards both Marx and Weber as developing a theory of modernity within which capitalism is simply a specific Page xviii instance. Sociological debate has swung away from the analysis of the structures of capitalism to an interpretation of culture in modernisation and postmodernism. As a result, the concept of culture has superseded much of the original debate about ideology and structure within the sociological canon.
I use the word 'German' here advisedly not only to indicate once again the importance of the legacy of the Bildungsbürgertum tradition but also to indicate the 'spiritual' notion of Germany for both Weber and Mann. Quoting from Reflections of a Non-political Man (Mann, 1987, p. 36), 'Germany's internal intellectual anitheses are scarcely national; they are almost purely European, opposing one another almost completely without national coloration, without national synthesis. ' Part of the motivation behind the work of Tenbruck, Hennis and Tribe (Tribe, 1989) is to re-establish Weber as a figure in the tradition of classical political philosophy, which was concerned to understand the political order of society as the foundation of ethics and ontology.
In short, it was the legacy of the Judeo-Christian world, which included the notions of ethical prophecy and monotheism, which was crucial to the development of a radical solution to the question of theodicy in forms of intellectualised soteriology. For example, the intellectual rationalism of the Protestant Churches was critical in pushing European civilisation towards a pattern of personal salvation or life regulation. Tenbruck has provided a radical reinterpretation of Weber's legacy, in particular by raising the problem of 'the world' as a concept in sociology to its proper place (Turner, 1992a).
At Day's Close: Night in Times Past by A. Roger Ekirch