Monday, March 01, 2010

A Cultural History of Night

From 'The Minotaur & the Maze: A Cultural History of Night #1' by Darran Anderson:

'Night might well be just technically the period of time when the sun is below the horizon. Yet it is also another vast transformed world, one which has its own vast and myriad culture; in poetry alone, the Aubade and the Alba (shared odes between lovers who must be tragically separated at dawn), in music the Nocturne (a rhapsody of, and for, the night). For all their beauty, these forms do little to describe to us what the night truly is, what this curse is that afflicts us at the dimming of every day?

In a sense, night is another frontier, alongside space and the ocean depths, that we’ve yet to truly tame. We may have mapped the entire landmass of the earth with GPS but controlling the hours after sunset eludes us. We may throw up a 24-hour garage like some outpost of civilisation or lines of streetlights but they are merely train-tracks through savage country. The nocturnal walk through the streets, familiar by day but changed utterly by night, can be a disconcerting experience. The dark brings out the undesirables that dare not show their faces in the cold light of day. “All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal” in the words of that gentle misunderstood soul Travis Bickle. That is its curse and its glory, when buoyed by the dutch courage of drink we choose to embrace it and join the ranks of the damned. “Most glorious night!” Byron wrote, himself no stranger to hedonism, “Thou wert not sent for slumber!”'

Full article at 3am magazine


Martin said...

To add to that - "What has the night to do with sleep?" - Fungus the Bogeyman

Anonymous said...

or how about:

"to race through the tangled empires of night
and always run the risk of falling"