By A. Roger Ekirch
Bringing gentle to the shadows of background via a "rich weave of quotation and archival evidence" (Publishers Weekly), student A. Roger Ekirch illuminates the elements of existence generally ignored by means of 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 special tradition and a shelter from day-by-day life.
Fear of crime, of fireplace, and of the supernatural; the significance of moonlight; the elevated prevalence of illness and loss of life at evening; night gatherings to spin wool and tales; masqued balls; lodges, taverns, and brothels; the innovations 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 experience of wonder" (Booklist).
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Extra resources for At Day's Close: Night in Times Past
Well aware that it is difference that is central to her argument, Baggs makes herself the subject of her wider political statement. It is her own pleasures, preferences and modes of communication that become the source of her articulation of what autistic subjectivity might be. The first section of the video, that entirely devoted to the various manifestations of Baggs’ language, offers no explanation for the images and sounds being communicated. The flapping, humming and assorted other noises exist firstly in the individuality of their own presence, and then in relation to the video’s title, which suggest their importance as a form of primary com munication.
This realization was automatic, a feeling that this revision of my writing position (even if it was only substantiating and translating something that was already, I hope, at work) was inevitable. Any work I did on the topic could only issue from such a context, and it is fair to say that when I make the claim in the pages that follow that a character or an action is autistic, it is because I am recognizing it as such. This is obviously partial, but it is, I hope, partial in the best sense. indb 18 17/04/2008 15:17:51 Introduction 19 r eadings are personal, as the book is as a whole, but that does not, I would assert, mean it cannot be scholarly.
He just is there’/‘The autist is only himself’: in the ways in which these comments escape from the orthodox prose of medical description, Kanner’s and Asperger’s phrases invite an exploration of how the processes of cultural representation do or don’t record such an idea of presence. The words themselves provide multiple possibilities that conform to the many subject positions characters with autism are given in fictional and non-fictional narratives alike. If the ‘just’ or ‘only’ is seen in a pejorative way, then the character is barely present, a prosthetic figure in the margins used only to make other aspects of the narrative work.
At Day's Close: Night in Times Past by A. Roger Ekirch