Wolfgang Schivelbusch tells the story of the development of artificial light in the nineteenth century. Not simply a history of a technology, Disenchanted Night revelas the ways that the technology of artificial illumination helped forge modern consciousness. In his strikingly illustrated and lively narrative, Schivelbusch discusses a range of subject including the political symbolism of streetlamps, the rise of nightlife and the shopwindow, and the importance of the salon in bourgeois culture.
Wolfgang Schivelbusch is a freelance writer who works in Berlin and New York. His prize-winning work The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the Nineteenth Century is also available from University of California Press.
"Entertaining. . . . [Schivelbusch] provides ground for much speculation--about the deregulation of utilities, the role of lighting in crim control, the growing attraction of self-sufficient rural life and hte social function of the theater. That is no mean feat for 227 pages."--Brenda Maddox, New York Times Book Review "A readable, highly personal, often original, and deliberately provocative attempt to integrate the story of artificial lisght with the history of modern life."--Neil Harris, Science "A solid introduction to major technological transformations in 19th-century lighting and their social, psychological, and cultural contexts."--John Opie, Technology and Culture "A marvelous nugget of history and economics."--Newsday