Using an impressive and extensive range of primary sources as well as a comprehensive bibliography of other historical writings, American historian Craig Koslofsky has produced a very readable and engaging book exploring nocturnalisation over the course of the early modern period. Put simply the book examines the changing nature of night life and the transformation of practical behaviour in for example sleeping patterns, city and village sociability, domestic and public gender relations.
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The result was the many civic initiatives to install lanterns in the streets. By the s the great cities of Europe and many smaller ones there is a helpful map which plots this implemented lighting. Often this happened in the face of fierce local opposition since there was a cost in both financial terms and in constraining the freedoms of those that exploited the cover of darkness to practise their trade or pleasures.
This innovation prompted a fundamental shift in the rhythm of daily life: especially in cities people stayed up longer and slept in later. In Leipzig the street lighting schedules were published for the convenience of all; by there were 5, public lights in Paris. Some lanterns were erected on poles, some strung across streets on ropes.
In some cities like Strasbourg they were subject to vandalism and attack.
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Evenings Empires by Paul McAuley 9780575100817
Some 70 years before the book begins, the Trues unwisely sent the most powerful armada in history to fight the Seraphs — a race of artificial intelligences from Saturn. Hari is custodian of the head of barely human experimental physicist Dr Gagarian, which he must return to the Tannhauser Gate in exchange for the ship. The head contains secret data relating to The Bright Moment — an instantaneous transcendental incident decades earlier, that resulted in a confusing mishmash of mysticism, scientific enquiry and conflict. Vowing revenge, Hari is chased by assassins across the asteroid belt, acquiring and discarding companions along the way, navigating the intricate array of strange religions and kooky cults.
This innovation prompted a fundamental shift in the rhythm of daily life: especially in cities people stayed up longer and slept in later. In Leipzig the street lighting schedules were published for the convenience of all; by there were 5, public lights in Paris.
Evenings Empires by Paul McAuley | Trade Me
Some lanterns were erected on poles, some strung across streets on ropes. In some cities like Strasbourg they were subject to vandalism and attack. This new night time offered more opportunities for leisure and work. Coffee houses and theatre-going became part of a more respectable public sociability: the dangerous frontier of darkness remained for some less polite groups.
Evening’s Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe
In rural communities the hearth and the candle remained the focus of night time activity. Darkness also carried theological meaning because the night was regarded as the playground of the nocturnal spirits — ghosts, witches, wandering souls. The Enlightenment war against superstition was also conducted in the dark: worldly banter, freethinking and coffee-house conversation displaced the night fears of religious delusion.