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The Annual Reeves Lecture by Jeffrey Hammond
The Annual Reeves Lecture
by Jeffrey Hammond, Professor of English and George B. and Willma Reeves Distinguished Professor in theáLiberal Arts
"Good Night: In Praise of Darkness"
The night has always had a poor reputation in Western culture. Historical progress is routinely envisioned as daylight conquering darkness: the "Dark Ages," however we define them, always end with some sort of "Enlightenment." We've internalized this light/dark dichotomy to express human moods and faculties. Every cloud, we say, has a silver lining; there's light at the end of the tunnel; and when we grasp something, we "see the light." Although there is a lot to be said for light, the negative connotations of allegorical darkness have distorted our view of literal darkness: as a result, the actual, physical night is often ignored or maligned. In this meditation on the natural, historical and cultural significance of the nighttime, Professor Hammond argues that we could all use a little more darkness in our lives and in our world.