The Book of Night
36 Short Journeys into the Dark
- A book for night lovers, night owls, and nocturnal types
- English sample translation by Lori Lantz available
The onset of darkness ushers in a time when the usual coordinates of our perception shift. In this book we encounter mystical nocturnal characters, superstitions, and customs, and embark on a journey of discovery that leaves us marveling at the secrets that the night still holds to this day.
For thousands of years, nature imposed a fixed rhythm. During the day, brisk activity prevailed – but, after sunset, everything sank into the world of sleep and dreams. Only nocturnal creatures and passionate noctivagants enjoyed the darkness. There had always been something subversive, forbidden, and exciting associated with nighttime activities. With the invention of artificial lighting, however, the night increasingly lost its mythical allure. Streetlights turned night into day. “Let’s kill the moonlight” was the battle cry of the Futurists, whose movement coincided with the rise of legendary nightclubs, dance palaces, and the Berlin cabaret. Today, we only find real darkness in remote places or, paradoxically, in artificially created environments that turn day into night: nocturnal animal houses or dark restaurants, which enjoy great popularity.
Bernd Brunner wanders through these wondrous hours between dusk and dawn, illuminating our relationship to the night in the borderlands between history, mythology, biology, and literature.