Avner WishnitzerDec 16, 2021
As Night Falls
Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Cities after Dark
Cambridge University Press 2021
In a world that is constantly awake, illuminated and exposed, there is much to gain from looking into the darkness of times past. Avner Wishnitzer's As Night Falls: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Cities after Dark (Cambridge University Press, 2021) gives a fascinating and vivid picture of nocturnal life in Middle Eastern cities shows that the night in the eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire created unique conditions for economic, criminal, political, devotional and leisurely pursuits that were hardly possible during the day. Offering the possibility of livelihood and brotherhood, pleasure and refuge; the darkness allowed confiding, hiding and conspiring - activities which had far-reaching consequences on Ottoman state and society in the early modern period. Instead of dismissing the night as merely a dark corridor between days, As Night Falls demonstrates how fundamental these nocturnal hours have been in shaping the major social, cultural and political processes in the early modern Middle East.
Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego