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At Day's Close: Night in Times Past by A. Roger Ekirch

By A. Roger Ekirch

Bringing mild to the shadows of historical past via a "rich weave of quotation and archival evidence" (Publishers Weekly), pupil A. Roger Ekirch illuminates the features of lifestyles almost always missed 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 different tradition and a shelter from day-by-day life.

Fear of crime, of fireplace, and of the supernatural; the significance of moonlight; the elevated occurrence of illness and dying at evening; night gatherings to spin wool and tales; masqued balls; resorts, 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 heritage, "maintaining all through an infectious experience of wonder" (Booklist).

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Extra resources for At Day's Close: Night in Times Past

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One cannot go far into the world of work without confronting issues of gender and family, examined in Chapter 3. Many societies have had a sexual division of labor, with women responsible for some tasks and men for others. Even as this division breaks down, deep gender inequalities remain in the expectations of who will do what work and how they will be compensated. The balance between work and family, and all the unpaid work that may come with providing for the needs of children and other family members, challenges people around the world, and is a key factor in gender inequality.

These groups are intertwined in a division of labor connected by global trade. Chapter 2 will examine the world of work and the ways that workers are interconnected in a web of trade relations. Of particular interest are both–those who do the work and those who set the rules of the game–that determine who gets ahead and who stays behind. One cannot go far into the world of work without confronting issues of gender and family, examined in Chapter 3. Many societies have had a sexual division of labor, with women responsible for some tasks and men for others.

If we must abandon easy answers, we should not abandon hope but go on to tougher questions and seek better, even if more complex, answers. Our search for ideas, explanations, and answers will take us across the social sciences: anthropology, human geography and social history, economics, political science, and sociology. We will also need to draw insight from the natural sciences, especially for understanding the environment within which we must make our decisions. Finally, we will need to reference the humanities and humanistic pursuits: to learn from one another’s stories and ideals, as captured in literature, ethics, worldviews, and the arts.

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