At Day's Close (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
A historian of the fringes of American colonial society, A. Roger Ekirch began At Day’s Close as an exploration of nightlife in the American colonies. Over some twenty years of research, Ekirch became more interested in nighttime activities of Western Europeans during the sixteenth through the mid-eighteenth centuries. At Day’s Close focuses on European customs and beliefs with occasional references to Colonial America, describing in some detail a rich and varied culture involving a wide range of after-dark activities in both rural and urban neighborhoods, and involving all social strata from European aristocrats to colonial plantation slaves.
Ekirch was familiar with scholarly studies of early modern crime and the practice of witchcraft (occupations often pursued under cover of darkness) but found little research addressing the more common nighttime activities of preindustrial people. He drew upon more than one thousand primary resources including personal documents such as letters, memoirs, and diaries; books of proverbs; glossaries; literature, including novels, plays, and poetry as well as extant versions of popular fables and ballads; legal documents and court records; journals and autobiographies; newspapers; sermons; and advice books. Ekirch’s research also extended to the visual arts; At Day’s Close includes more than seventy examples of drawings, paintings, woodcuts, and cartoons illustrating nighttime...
(The entire section is 1703 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 18 (May 15, 2005): 1621.
Harper’s Magazine 310 (June, 2005): 81.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 6 (March 15, 2005): 330.
The Nation 281, no. 6 (August 29, 2005): 38-40.
The New York Times 154 (July 24, 2005): 18.
The New Yorker 81, no. 15 (May 30, 2005): 86-90.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 14 (April 4, 2005): 52.
Spectator 298 (July 16, 2005): 36-37.
(The entire section is 34 words.)