Skip to content

We’re doing an important upgrade to our website. It will not take long, but will be unavailable on Monday 21st October for 15 minutes only from 04.30 BST/11.30 EDT

Register Sign in Wishlist

Evening's Empire
A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe

$30.99 (G)

Award Winner

Part of New Studies in European History

  • Date Published: August 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521721066

$ 30.99 (G)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • What does it mean to write a history of the night? Evening's Empire is a fascinating study of the myriad ways in which early modern people understood, experienced, and transformed the night. Using diaries, letters, and legal records together with representations of the night in early modern religion, literature and art, Craig Koslofsky opens up an entirely new perspective on early modern Europe. He shows how princes, courtiers, burghers and common people 'nocturnalized' political expression, the public sphere and the use of daily time. Fear of the night was now mingled with improved opportunities for labour and leisure: the modern night was beginning to assume its characteristic shape. Evening's Empire takes the evocative history of the night into early modern politics, culture and society, revealing its importance to key themes from witchcraft, piety, and gender to colonization, race, and the Enlightenment.

    • This fascinating study reveals the importance of the night to key themes in early modern cultural and political history, such as witchcraft, piety, gender, the public sphere, colonisation, race and the Enlightenment
    • Explores how early modern people expanded their daily lives into the night to create the modern order of daily time
    • With a comparative focus on northern Europe, the author offers a new and consistent view of the emerging modern night across the region
    Read more


    • Winner of the Longman-History Today Book of the Year 2011 Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Koslofsky’s epic history of the night reveals a revolution: how stage lights remade theater, how Lutheran mystics penetrated the night, how witch hunters fought the devil on his own nocturnal turf, how racism mirrored the presumed iniquity of blackness, and how street lights pacified cities. Readers will find surprises on every page."
    Edward Muir, Northwestern University

    "Koslofsky plays skilfully with the oppositions of light and darkness, day and night, to reveal dramatic changes in both the social and the symbolic worlds of early modern Europeans. This is a sensitive and throught-proviling synoptic study, of very great interest for all students of European society, thought, and culture."
    Robin Briggs, University of Oxford

    "Evening’s Empire is a remarkable foray into a long-neglected dimension of early modern history: Europe’s conquest of darkness and nighttime. Craig Koslofsky convincingly proves that the transition to modernity and the emergence of the public sphere cannot be fully understood without taking the 'colonization' of night into account. An enlightening study, in every way."
    Carlos M. N. Eire, Yale University

    "This is a tremendous read, full of human stories and suggestive argument. Like many of the best history books it makes one pause for thought not only about the past but about the present too."
    BBC History Review

    "… [a] consistently stimulating, cogently argued and elegantly written book."
    Times Literary Supplement

    "Koslofsky has mined rich and varied sources - letters, diaries, municipal archives, art, periodicals - from France, Britain, and especially Germany, to produce this engaging and inventive work. He possesses an acute historical understanding - which means that he’s ever sensitive to the foreignness of the past."
    Ben Schwarz, The Atlantic

    "… a triumph of detailed, patient scholarship, clearly and enthusiastically communicated. It imparts considerable subtlety of texture to the fresco of the pre-industrial night so vividly painted by Ekirch in particular. Consequently, it should remain authoritative for decades to come, influencing scholars of literature as well as history."

    "This is a sweeping book, and its arguments work best in broad, evocative strokes. Much of the revolution here boils down to discrete changes in elite thought or fashion that then helped to reshape broader culture. Koslofsky is to be commended for stressing the limitations, ambiguities, and sometimes outright dichotomies of such developments, even as he argues for their extraordinary impact."
    Michael D. Bailey, Renaissance Quarterly

    "… learned and imaginative …"
    Keith Thomas, Common Knowledge

    "… this ambitious book is a remarkable achievement, illuminating early modern European history from a new and original perspective …"
    Central European History

    "Koslofsky’s work is impressive for its elegant model, a clear depiction of change over time and in the great variety of sources used."
    Elizabeth Tingle, European History Quarterly

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521721066
    • length: 448 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • contains: 36 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. An early modern revolution
    2. Darkness and the devil, 1450–1650
    3. Seeking the Lord in the night, 1530–1650
    4. Princes of darkness: the night at court, 1600–1750
    5. 'An entirely new contrivance': the rise of street lighting, 1660–1700
    6. Colonising the urban night: resistance, gender and the public sphere
    7. Colonising the rural night?
    8. Darkness and enlightenment
    9. Conclusion.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • European Civilization 1500-1899
    • Introduction to Cultural History: The History of the Night
  • Author

    Craig Koslofsky, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Craig Koslofsky is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His previous publications include The Reformation of the Dead: Death and Ritual in Early Modern Germany (2001).


    • Winner of the Longman-History Today Book of the Year 2011 Award

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.