The Enlightenment by Night

Essays on After-Dark Culture
in the Long Eighteenth Century
Edited by
Serge Soupel
Kevin L. Cope
Alexander Pettit

LC 2007006968
ISBN-10: 0-404-64859-2, ISBN-13: 978-0-404-64859-6
Cloth $174.50

AMS Studies in the Eighteenth Century, No. 59

What was night in the eighteenth century? The most general answer, according to the essayists represented in this collection, is “activity,” although “energy” or “purpose” might be closer to the mark. “Night” here is depicted as a perfect topic for the period under consideration: the “busy night”—the populous night—is preeminently an eighteenth-century phenomenon. The Age of Enlightenment saw, literally, the publicizing and popularizing of night and thus its availability for numerous representational purposes.

The Enlightenment by Night broadly explores the corporate sense of long-eighteenth-century busy-ness, in discussions on topics ranging from the effect of factories and new lighting sources on nighttime productivity to the celebratory use of fireworks, from the darkness that registered as threat in the work of William Blake to the playful confounding of day and night, light and dark in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. Trawling through notions of heaven and hell, the literal facts of meteors and coal mines, and spiritual experiences of blindness and elucidation, The Enlightenment by Night will be recognized by literary scholars and cultural historians alike as a uniquely interdisciplinary study.


Part I

Art After Dark: Fine Art at Night
Elisabeth Détis, “‘The Night Is Far Spent’: A Few Pictorial Representations of Reading, Light, and Darkness in Eighteenth-Century Britain”
Bärbel Czennia, “Night Skies Enlightened: Fireworks as Art, Science, Recreation, and Collective Symbol”
Muriel Adrien, “Light and Shade in Wright of Derby’s Paintings”

Part II

Settings After Sunset
Jean Dixsaut, “Sun and Night in Tom Jones, Containing a Hint or Two Concerning the Literal and the Figurative”
Jean-Paul Forster, “Lighting and Night and Darkness at Noon”
Alexander Pettit, “Mistakes of a Night: Or, Who Does What with Whom, When (and Why) in Eighteenth-Century Pornography”

Part III

Exotic Evening Spaces: Night in Remarkable Locations
Gerald J. Butler, “The Night Sky of the Enlightenment, William Herschel’s Disposition Toward the Empirical, and ‘Profundity’”
Kevin L. Cope, “Making Darkness Visible Again: Graves, Caverns, Meteors, and More”
David S. Reay, “Night-Lights in Perspective: British Lifestyles in the Eighteenth Century and Associated Greenhouse Gas Emissions”
H. J. K. Jenkins, “Night in the North Sea and the Feasibility of Samuel Johnson’s London”

Part IV

Nighttime Lifestyles
Allan Ingram, “The Dark Side of the Moon: Anti-Illumination in the Poetry of Pope”
Florence Lautel-Ribstein, “A Libertine’s Protracted Night: Rochester Redivivus ac Gallice Redditus”
Yannick Deschamps, “Instruments of Darkness in the Enlightenment: Witches in Daniel Defoe’s Occult Treatises”
Anne Berton, “The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, a Romance: Mary Shelley’s Elegy for a Lost (K)night”

Part V

The Midnight Mind: Psychology and Epistemology at Night
Kevin Barry, “Learned Blindness: Irish Counter-Enlightenment”
Patrick Menneteau, “William Blake and the Dark Side of the Enlightenment: Toward a Reassessment of the Jungian Contribution”

Part VI

Darkening Literature
Brean Hammond, “Pope and Young on Night”
Hélène Dachez, “‘The night flies apace’: Darkness and Elucidation in The Monk
Jens Martin Gurr, “The Enlightening Powers of Night: Nocturnal Conversions in The Prelude”

Part VII

The Limitless Depths of Night: The End of Visible Obstacles
John A. Baker, “Is There a Youngian Night?”
Dirk F. Paßmann and Hermann J. Real, “Fiat Nox: A Tale of a Tub and the Biblical Account of Genesis Under Erasure”
Andrew Varney, “The Dark Desire for Narrative: Night in Eighteenth-Century Fiction”


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

The enlightenment by night : essays on after-dark culture in the long eighteenth century / edited by Serge Soupel, Kevin L. Cope, and Alexander Pettit.
p. cm. — (AMS studies in the eighteenth century, ISSN 0196-6561 ; no. 59)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-404-64859-6 (acid-free paper)
1. English literature—18th century—History and criticism.
2. Light and darkness in literature.
3. Night in literature.
4. Enlightenment.
I. Soupel, Serge.
II. Cope, Kevin Lee.
III. Pettit, Alexander, 1958–
PR442.E56 2007
820.9’33—dc22 2007006968

Category: Annuals