“A writer is someone who pays attention to the world — a writer is a professional observer,” Susan Sontag wrote in contemplating the project of literature. Often, the measure of a writer is the attentiveness with which they observe the subtlest dimensions of existence, those realms of experience imperceptible to the eye. Sometimes, it is the subtlety and nuance with which they capture the human dimensions of the most dramatic observable phenomena, the ones that arrest the eye and overwhelm the ordinary mind into a stunned silence. A century after pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell penned her enchanting and rhetorically ingenious account of the Great Eclipse of the nineteenth century, Annie Dillard — another enchantress of observation, a supremely poetic observer of phenomenology inner and outer — captured the otherworldly experience of a total solar eclipse in a stunning essay originally published in her 1982 book Teaching a Stone to Talk, then included in her indispensable recent collection The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New (public library | IndieBound). Dillard frames the inescapable cosmic drama of this divinely disorienting experience: What you see in a total eclipse is entirely different from what you know. It is especially different for those of… Read full this story
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Into the Chute of Time: Annie Dillard on the Stunning Otherworldliness of a Total Solar Eclipse have 262 words, post on www.brainpickings.org at August 1, 2017. This is cached page on IT Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.