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Absence And Light
Meditations From The Klamath Marshes
John R. Campbell
University of Nevada Press, 2002
"In order to accept the enormous responsibility that comes of being in the world, we must first conceive, in spite of all the obstacles, the state of actually being the world." It is for this reason that John R. Campbell came to the Klamath marshes, a wetland in southern Oregon formed by three ancient, shallow lakes.
Absence and Light is Campbell's account of his exploration of the marshes and a meditation on the world he found there, on his growing understanding of the physical, emotional, moral, and aesthetic meaning of that world, on his own growth as a man. Through Campbell's eyes, we observe the stirring and astonishing beauty of the marshes and their creatures, and the utter poignancy of their fragility before the heedless ambitions of humankind.
This is nature writing at its most profound and moving, writing that in examining and defining the world of nature helps us to understand the very complicated and contradictory realities of being human. Campbell's luminous descriptions and mystical insights will long linger in the reader's memory.

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Abuela in Shadow, Abuela in Light
Rigoberto González
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022
Standing over two graves, Rigoberto González studies the names “Ramon” and “María” under the family name “González.” “She was María Carrillo, not María González,” he thinks. His grandmother is missing. So begins González’s memoir, a journey to recover a more complete picture of his grandmother, who raised him following his mother’s death.
González travels to his abuela’s birthplace, Michoacán, Mexico, and along the way recovers his memories of a past he had tried to leave behind. A complex woman who was forced to take on maternal roles and suffered years of abuse, his grandmother simultaneously resisted traditional gender roles; she was kind yet unaffectionate, and she kept many secrets in a crowded household with little personal space. Sifting through family histories and anecdotes, González pieces together the puzzling life story of a woman who was present in her grandson’s life yet absent during his emotional journey as a young man discovering his sexuality and planning his escape from a toxic and abusive environment.
From fragments of memory and story, González ultimately creates a portrait of an unconventional yet memorable grandmother, a hard-working Indigenous Mexican woman who remained an enigma while she was alive. A grandmother, he shows, is more than what her descendants remember; she is also all that has been forgotten or never known. Through this candid exploration of his own family, González explores how we learn to remember and honor those we’ve lost.

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Art in the Light of Conscience
Eight Essays on Poetry
Marina Tsvetaeva
Harvard University Press, 1992

In the Soviet Union, as in the West, Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-4941) is acknowledged to be one of the great Russian poets of the century, along with Mandelstam, Pasternak and Akhmatova. Overnight sensation and oft-times pariah, Tsvetaeva was a poet of extraordinary intensity whose work continues to be discovered by new readers. Yet, while she is considered to be one of the major influences on modern Soviet poetry, few know of her consummate gifts as a writer of prose. These select essays, most of which have never been available in translation before, display the dazzlingly original prose style and the powerful, dialogic voice of a poet who would like to make art’s mystery accessible without diminishing it.

The essays provide incomparable insight on poetry, the poetic process, and what it means to be a poet. The volume offers, among many fascinating topics, a celebration of the poetry of Pasternak and reflections on the lives and works of other Russian poets, such as Mandelstam, Mayakovsky, and Zhukovsky. Included in this richly diverse collection are the essays “The Poet on the Critic,” which earned Tsvetaeva the enmity of many, Art in the Light of Conscience, a spirited defense of poetry, and The Poet and Time, seen by many scholars as providing the key to understanding Tsvetaeva’s work. The immense power and originality of Tsvetaeva’s language captured by Angela Livingstone’s superb translation of the essays along with twelve of Tsvetaeva’s poems on related themes, is testimony to why the Tsvetaevan revival in the Soviet Union and interest in the West continue to gain momentum as the centenary of her birth approaches. The volume is made complete by the addition of an elegant introduction by the translator, a chronology of Tsvetaeva’s life, and an index of contemporary poets and writers mentioned in the essays.

“Good poetry is always better than prose,” Tsvetaeva wrote. Prose as good as hers, however, is rare and few have done as much as she to explore the processes of creation and the feelings of the exceptionally creative person in the ordinary world.


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Beginning to See the Light
Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll
Ellen Willis
University of Minnesota Press, 2012

From the New Yorker’s inimitable first pop music critic comes this pioneering collection of essays by a conscientious writer whose political realm is both radical and rational, and whose prime preoccupations are with rock ’n’ roll, sexuality, and above all, freedom. Here Ellen Willis assuredly captures the thrill of music, the disdain of authoritarian culture, and the rebellious spirit of the ’60s and ’70s.


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Bending into the Light
Alice Attie
Seagull Books, 2023
A beautiful and timely collection of poems written during the pandemic.
The poems in Alice Attie’s new volume, Bending into the Light, are poised on an ever-shifting threshold where words “up and down, side to side” appear as “figures in the distance approaching, each a declaration, each persisting”. Beings, things, ideas, present or vanishing, flow through the vessel of language wherein each exudes “its own aura, its own being, its own disappearance.” Attie’s voice is intricate and intimate, shaping and reshaping the space of being and the space of non-being. These contemplative poems, interspersed with a few haunting photographs and artworks, extol, and mourn, melding the quotidian with the philosophical where we are formed and transformed in the profound knowledge that “the voice has no center.”

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Between My Eye and the Light
Paul Breslin
Northwestern University Press, 2015

“Hole torn in the language, / How shall we speak?” The first lines of the first poem in Paul Breslin’s artful second collection of poetry demand an answer, of both poet and reader, to the seemingly unspeakable tragedies of modern life. Between My Eye and the Light forms a beautifully insistent exercise in the power of language to engage experiences both mundane and profound. Breslin queries far-flung corners of experience for answers, engaging childhood, his longtime home of Chicago, small moments of life, and encounters with artists such Rainer Maria Rilke and Derek Walcott. The poems even query the volume’s opening question, How shall we speak? While pat answers elude us, poetry acts as a bulwark against cliché and cynicism, strengthening those who have the courage to question and explore.


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Brushed in Light
Calligraphy in East Asian Cinema
Markus Nornes
University of Michigan Press, 2021

Drawing on a millennia of calligraphy theory and history, Brushed in Light examines how the brushed word appears in films and in film cultures of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and PRC cinemas. This includes silent era intertitles, subtitles, title frames, letters, graffiti, end titles, and props. Markus Nornes also looks at the role of calligraphy in film culture at large, from gifts to correspondence to advertising. The book begins with a historical dimension, tracking how calligraphy is initially used in early cinema and how it is continually rearticulated by transforming conventions and the integration of new technologies. These chapters ask how calligraphy creates new meaning in cinema and demonstrate how calligraphy, cinematography, and acting work together in a single film. The last part of the book moves to other regions of theory. Nornes explores the cinematization of the handwritten word and explores how calligraphers understand their own work.


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California’s Ancient Past
From Pacific to the Range of Light
Jeanne E. Arnold
University Press of Colorado, 2010
“California’s Ancient Past is an excellent introduction and overview of the archaeology and ancient peoples of this diverse and dynamic part of North America. Written in a concise and approachable format, the book provides an excellent foundation for students, the general public, and scholars working in other regions around the world. This book will be an important source of information on California’s ancient past for years to come.”—Torben C. Rick, Smithsonian Institution

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The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness
A Vindication of Democracy and a Critique of Its Traditional Defense
Reinhold Niebuhr
University of Chicago Press, 2011

The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, first published in 1944, is considered one of the most profound and relevant works by the influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and certainly the fullest statement of his political philosophy. Written and first read during the prolonged, tragic world war between totalitarian and democratic forces, Niebuhr’s book took up the timely question of how democracy as a political system could best be defended.

Most proponents of democracy, Niebuhr claimed, were “children of light,” who had optimistic but naïve ideas about how society could be rid of evil and governed by enlightened reason. They needed, he believed, to absorb some of the wisdom and strength of the “children of darkness,” whose ruthless cynicism and corrupt, anti-democratic politics should otherwise be repudiated. He argued for a prudent, liberal understanding of human society that took the measure of every group’s self-interest and was chastened by a realistic understanding of the limits of power. It is in the foreword to this book that he wrote, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

This edition includes a new introduction by the theologian and Niebuhr scholar Gary Dorrien in which he elucidates the work’s significance and places it firmly into the arc of Niebuhr’s career.

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City of Darkness, City of Light
Emigre Filmmakers in Paris, 1929-1939
Alastair Phillips
Amsterdam University Press, 2004
The volume is the first-ever book-length study of the cinematic representation of Paris in the films of German èmigrè filmmakers, many of whom fled there as a refuge from Hitler. In coming to Paris—a privileged site in terms of production, exhibition, and film culture—these experienced professionals also encountered resistance: hostility toward Germans, anti-Semitism, and boycotts from a French industry afraid of losing jobs to foreigners. Phillips juxtaposes the cinematic portrayal of Paris in the films of Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Max Ophüls, Anatol Litvak, and others with the wider social and cultural debates about the city in cinema.

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Coming to Light
American Women Poets in the Twentieth Century
Diane Wood Middlebrook and Marilyn Yalom, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 1985
This collection of 16 essays discusses the broad relationship of women poets to the American literary tradition

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A Culture of Light
Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany
Frances Guerin
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
Cinema is a medium of light. And during Weimar Germany's advance to technological modernity, light - particularly the representational possibilities of electrical light - became the link between the cinema screen and the rapid changes that were transforming German life.In Frances Guerin's compelling history of German silent cinema of the 1920s, the innovative use of light is the pivot around which a new conception of a national cinema, and a national culture emerges. Guerin depicts a nocturnal Germany suffused with light - electric billboards, storefronts, police searchlights - and shows how this element of the mise-en-scene came to reflect both the opportunities and the anxieties surrounding modernity and democracy. Guerin's interpretations center on use of light in films such as Schatten (1923), Variete (1925), Metropolis (1926), and Der Golem (1920). In these films we see how light is the substance of image composition, the structuring device of the narrative, and the central thematic concern. This history relieves German films of the responsibility to explain the political and ideological instability of the period, an instability said to be the uncertain foundation of Nazism. In unlocking this dubious link, A Culture of Light redefines the field of German film scholarship.

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Dark Side of the Light
Slavery and the French Enlightenment
Louis Sala-Molins
University of Minnesota Press, 2006
Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau and Montesquieu are best known for their humanist theories and liberating influence on Western civilization. But as renowned French intellectual Louis Sala-Molins shows, Enlightenment discourses and scholars were also complicit in the Atlantic slave trade, becoming instruments of oppression and inequality. 

Translated into English for the first time, Dark Side of the Light scrutinizes Condorcet’s Reflections on NegroSlavery and the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Diderot side by side with the Code Noir (the royal document that codified the rules of French Caribbean slavery) in order to uncover attempts to uphold the humanist project of the Enlightenment while simultaneously justifying slavery. Wielding the pen of both the ironist and the moralist, Sala-Molins demonstrates the flawed nature of these attempts and the reasons given for this denial of rights, from the imperatives of public order to the incomplete humanity of the slave (and thus the need for his progressive humanization through slavery), to the economic prosperity that depended on his labor. At the same time, Sala-Molins uses the techniques of literature to give equal weight to the perspective of the “barefooted, the starving, and the slaves” through expository prose and scenes between slave and philosopher, giving moral agency and flesh-and-blood dimensions to issues most often treated as abstractions. 

Both an urgent critique and a measured analysis, Dark Side of the Light reveals the moral paradoxes of Enlightenment philosophies and their world-changing consequences. 

Louis Sala-Molins is a moral and political philosopher and emeritus professor at the University of Toulouse. He is the author of many books, including Le Code Noir, ou Le calvaire de Canaan and L’Afrique aux Amériques

John Conteh-Morgan is associate professor of French and Francophone, African-American, and African studies at Ohio State University. He is the author of Theatre and Drama in Francophone Africa: A Critical Introduction.

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A Deed to the Light
Poems by Jeanne Murray Walker
University of Illinois Press, 2004
In A Deed To the Light Jeanne Murray Walker asks probing questions about the depth of grief, about letting go, and about the possibility of faith.  Her poems have been described by John Taylor, writing in Poetry, as "splendid, subtly erudite, uplifting, and funny."

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The Early Ottoman Peloponnese
A Study in the Light of an Annotated Editio Princeps of the TT10-1/14662 Ottoman Taxation Cadastre (ca. 1460–1463)
Georgios C. Liakopoulos
Gingko, 2019
The Early Ottoman Peloponnese: A study in the Light of an Annotated editio princeps of the TT10-1/14662 Ottoman Taxation Cadastre (ca. 1460-1463) is a study drawn from the author's PhD thesis, conducted at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the supervision of the late Professor Julian Chrysostomides.
The book is divided into two parts, with part one covering a range of materials through an introduction and three chapters and part two consisting of a diplomatic edition of the transcribed Ottoman text. The introduction offers an orientation to the scope of the book, surveys previous scholarship conducted on the subject, and provides a historical examination of the late Byzantine Peloponnese and its conquest by the Ottomans. Accompanied by topographic and linguistic notes, Liakopoulos presents the historical geography of the Peloponnese, listing all the place-names mentioned in the sequence they appear in the TT10-1/14662 register. This is followed by a set of thirty-eight digital maps of the early Ottoman Peloponnese using GIS (Geographical Information Systems). This is followed by a discussion of the demography of the Peloponnese, including the settlement patterns, the density of population and its categorisation—urban and rural, sedentary and nomadic—concentrating on the influx and settlement of the second largest ethnic group in the peninsula: the Albanians. Liakopoulos explores the administrative and economic structures of the Peloponnese, and provides a detailed presentation their of agricultural production, fully illustrated with tables and charts.

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Ethics in Light of Childhood
John Wall
Georgetown University Press, 2011

Childhood faces humanity with its own deepest and most perplexing questions. An ethics that truly includes the world’s childhoods would transcend pre-modern traditional communities and modern rational autonomy with a postmodern aim of growing responsibility. It would understand human relations in a poetic rather than universalistic sense as openly and interdependently creative. As a consequence, it would produce new understandings of moral being, time, and otherness, as well as of religion, rights, narrative, families, obligation, and power.

Ethics in Light of Childhood fundamentally reimagines ethical thought and practice in light of the experiences of the third of humanity who are children. Much like humanism, feminism, womanism, and environmentalism, Wall argues, a new childism is required that transforms moral thinking, relations, and societies in fundamental ways. Wall explores childhood’s varied impacts on ethical thinking throughout history, advances the emerging interdisciplinary field of childhood studies, and reexamines basic assumptions in contemporary moral theory and practice.

In the process, he does not just apply ethics to childhood but applies childhood to ethics—in order to imagine a more expansive humanity.


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Every Hour of the Light
The Paintings of Mary Sipp Green
Beth Venn
The Artist Book Foundation, 2014
American landscape painter Mary Sipp Green, based in the bucolic Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, has a superlative ability to engage the viewer in the emotive atmosphere of her landscapes and seascapes. The intensely saturated colors in her works evoke an immediate sense of place and a unique perspective on an intimate tableau. Sipp Green achieves an ethereal, nuanced quality in her paintings that imparts a refined and inimitable serenity. In Every Hour of the Light: The paintings of Mary Sipp Green, many of the subjects she paints—salt marshes, barns, meadows, rivers, and the occasional cityscape—are captured in the exquisite twilight of early evenings or a luminescent sunrise. The effect is dreamy yet grounded and familiar. Sipp Green states, “While my preferred medium has always been oil on linen, my methods, techniques, and aesthetic aims have all undergone significant transformations since I first began. I learned my craft in the studio, painting still lifes and portraits, as well as landscapes drawn directly from nature. Over time, I became increasingly engaged with more abstract and spiritual aspects of the landscape form and I began to pursue a less representational, more expressive style.” When describing her “diffuse quality of color,” she explains, “I use many layers of paint, allowing each to dry before the next is applied. Along the way, the surface of the paint is often refigured in unpredictable ways, and there is much that has to be scraped, sanded, destroyed and reapplied before the essence of a place, its mood and atmosphere, finally emerges onto the canvas.” Sipp Green’s work is widely collected in prominent private and public collections, including the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, part of the Springfield Museum of Art quadrangle in Springfield, Massachusetts, where her large oil painting Twilight Falls in South County hangs in the museum’s entryway, and The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.

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Filigrana encendida / Filigree of Light
Poemas / Poems
Olivia Maciel
Swan Isle Press, 2002
In Olivia Maciel's Filigree of Light, one enters a lyric of solitude and light, water and wind. Maciel is a poet who has the power to reveal and surprise, bringing one close to things. She approaches the unknown, searching with riddles and reverie.

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The Fluency of Light
Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
University of Iowa Press, 2013
In these intertwined essays on art, music, and identity, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, the daughter of African American and Italian American parents, examines the experience of her mixed-race identity. Embracing the far-ranging stimuli of her media-obsessed upbringing, she grasps at news clippings, visual fragments, and lyrics from past and present in order to weave together a world of sense.
Art in all forms guides the author toward understanding concepts like blackness, jazz, mortality, riots, space, time, self, and other without falling prey to the myth that all things must exist within a system of binaries. Recalling her awkward attempts at coolness during her childhood, Sabatini Sloan evokes Thelonious Monk’s stage persona as a metaphor for blackness. Through the conceptual art of Adrian Piper, the author is able to understand what is so quietly menacing about the sharp, clean lines of an art gallery where she works as an assistant. The result is a compelling meditation on identity and representation. 

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For the Sake of the Light
New and Selected Poems
Tom Sexton
University of Alaska Press, 2009

This collection of new and selected poems by the former poet laureate of Alaska, Tom Sexton, opens a door on the essence of life in Alaska and Maine. Sexton divides his year between the two states, and he captures here the small but powerful sensual details of day-to-day life in these contrasting, yet similar, environs. His carefully crafted verse distills the birch and aspen, lynx and ptarmigan, and the snow on high peaks. Through his poems we thrill to experience encounters with the wild, the seasons, and the sublime landscape.

     His language is clear, without tricks or fancy moves, yet his directness is powerful, and the effects are human”—Paul Zimmer, Georgia Review


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From Darkness To Light
Class, Consciousness, & Salvation In Revolutionary
Igal Halfin
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000
In this interdisciplinary and controversial work, Igal Halfin takes an original and provocative stance on Marxist theory, and attempts to break down the divisions between history, philosophy, and literary theory.

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From Light to Byte
Toward an Ethics of Digital Cinema
Markos Hadjioannou
University of Minnesota Press, 2012

Cinema has been undergoing a profound technological shift: celluloid film is being replaced by digital media in the production, distribution, and reception of moving images. Concerned with the debate surrounding digital cinema’s ontology and the interrelationship between cinema cultures, From Light to Byte investigates the very idea of change as it is expressed in the current technological transition. Markos Hadjioannou asks what is different in the way digital movies depict the world and engage with the individual and how we might best address the issue of technological shift within media archaeologies.

Hadjioannou turns to the technical basis of the image as his first point of departure, considering the creative and perceptual activities of moviemakers and viewers. Grounded in film history, film theory, and philosophy, he explores how the digital configures its engagement with reality and the individual while simultaneously replaying and destabilizing celluloid’s own structures. He observes that, where film’s photographic foundation encourages an existential association between individual and reality, digital representations are graphic renditions of mathematical codes whose causal relations are more difficult to trace.

Throughout this work Hadjioannou examines how the two technologies set themselves up with reference to reality, physicality, spatiality, and temporality, and he concludes that the question concerning digital cinema is ultimately one of ethical implications—a question, that is, of the individual’s ability to respond to the image of the world.


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From Sight to Light
The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics
A. Mark Smith
University of Chicago Press, 2014
From its inception in Greek antiquity, the science of optics was aimed primarily at explaining sight and accounting for why things look as they do. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the analytic focus of optics had shifted to light: its fundamental properties and such physical behaviors as reflection, refraction, and diffraction. This dramatic shift—which A. Mark Smith characterizes as the “Keplerian turn”—lies at the heart of this fascinating and pioneering study.       
Breaking from previous scholarship that sees Johannes Kepler as the culmination of a long-evolving optical tradition that traced back to Greek antiquity via the Muslim Middle Ages, Smith presents Kepler instead as marking a rupture with this tradition, arguing that his theory of retinal imaging, which was published in 1604, was instrumental in prompting the turn from sight to light. Kepler’s new theory of sight, Smith reveals, thus takes on true historical significance: by treating the eye as a mere light-focusing device rather than an image-producing instrument—as traditionally understood—Kepler’s account of retinal imaging helped spur the shift in analytic focus that eventually led to modern optics. 
A sweeping survey, From Sight to Light is poised to become the standard reference for historians of optics as well as those interested more broadly in the history of science, the history of art, and cultural and intellectual history.

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George Sherwood
Wind, Waves, and Light
June LaCombe
The Artist Book Foundation, 2024
George Sherwood’s kinetic sculptures invite us to observe, experience, contemplate and engage more fully in the natural world around us. His intricate and innovatively designed works explore aesthetic systems of space, time, and the dynamic relationships of objects in motion. The choreography of each piece is governed by a set of basic movements, facilitated by an arrangement of aerodynamic surfaces connected by rotational points. The Artist Book Foundation is pleased to present George Sherwood: Wind, Waves, and Light, the first monograph on this award-winning artist’s lustrous, subtly transformative works. Featuring 100 sculptures from Sherwood’s early whimsical explorations to his monumental commissions that have graced private and public gardens, city sites, and exhibition spaces around the world, readers will witness how changing winds, shades of light, times of day, precipitation, and the seasons’ changing colors alter the sculptures, animate their surroundings, and ignite the imagination. Sherwood’s sculptures are often made of stainless steel, a reflective material that serves to integrate the works into the unique and often transient light of their environments. Based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Sherwood has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions including the Currier Museum, Manchester, New Hampshire; Saint Gauden’s National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire; The Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Katonah Museum, in Katonah, New York. In 2007 he was awarded the Lillian Heller Award for Contemporary Art at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. His works can be found in the permanent collections of The Currier Museum; The Dana Farber Cancer Institute 20th and 21st century Contemporary Art Collection in Boston, Massachusetts; the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine, the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Contemporary Sculpture Path at the Forest Hills Educational Trust in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

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Get Shown the Light
Improvisation and Transcendence in the Music of the Grateful Dead
Michael Kaler
Duke University Press, 2023
Of all the musical developments of rock in the 1960s, one in particular fundamentally changed the music’s structure and listening experience: the incorporation of extended improvisation into live performances. While many bands—including Cream, Pink Floyd, and the Velvet Underground—stretched out their songs with improvisations, no band was more identified with the practice than the Grateful Dead. In Get Shown the Light Michael Kaler examines how the Dead’s dedication to improvisation stemmed from their belief that playing in this manner enabled them to touch upon transcendence. Drawing on band testimonials and analyses of early recordings, Kaler traces how the Dead developed an approach to playing music that they believed would facilitate their spiritual goals. He focuses on the band’s early years, the significance of their playing Ken Kesey’s Acid Test parties, and their evolving exploration of the myriad musical and spiritual possibilities that extended improvisation afforded. Kaler demonstrates that the Grateful Dead developed a radical new way of playing rock music as a means to unleash the spiritual and transformative potential of their music.

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Glass, Light, and Electricity
Shena McAuliffe
University of Alaska Press, 2020
Fleet-footed and capricious, the essays in Glass, Light & Electricity wander through landscapes both familiar and unfamiliar, finding them equal parts magical and toxic. They explore and merge public and private history through lyric meditations that use research, association, and metaphor to examine subjects as diverse as neon signs, scalping, heartbreak, and seizures. The winner of the 2019 Permafrost Prize in nonfiction, Shena McAuliffe expands the creative possibilities of form.

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Growth Theories in Light of the East Asian Experience
Edited by Takatoshi Ito and Anne O. Krueger
University of Chicago Press, 1995
The contributors to this volume analyze the growth experiences of Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan in light of the recently developed endogenous growth theory to provide an understanding of the economic boom in East Asia.

The theory explored in this volume attributes the phenomenal economic success of these countries to, among other factors, the role of an outward orientation—a focus on exporting rather than on protecting home markets. In addition, the importance of exchange rate behavior, of the supportive role of government policy, and of the accumulation and promotion of physical and human capital are explored in detail. This collection also examines the extent to which growth in each country became self-sustaining once it began.

Demonstrating the relevance of endogenous growth theory for studying this important region, this fourth volume in the NBER-East Asia Seminar on Economics series will be of interest to observers of East Asian affairs.

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Half of the World in Light
New and Selected Poems
Juan Felipe Herrera
University of Arizona Press, 2008
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and the PEN/Beyond Margins Award

For nearly four decades, Juan Felipe Herrera has documented his experience as a Chicano in the United States and Latin America through stunning, memorable poetry that is both personal and universal in its impact, themes, and approach. Often political, never fainthearted, his career has been marked by tremendous virtuosity and a unique sensibility for uncovering the unknown and the unexpected. Through a variety of stages and transformations, Herrera has evolved more than almost any other Chicano poet, always re-inventing himself into a more mature and seasoned voice.

Now, in this unprecedented collection, we encounter the trajectory of this highly innovative and original writer, bringing the full scope of his singular vision into view. Beginning with early material from A Certain Man, the volume moves through thirteen of Herrera’s collections into new, previously unpublished work. Serious scholars and readers alike will now have available to them a representative set of glimpses into his production as well as his origins and personal development. The ultimate value of bringing together such a collection, however, is that it will allow us to better understand and appreciate the complexity of what this major American poet is all about.

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A History of Light
Jan Nemec
Seagull Books, 2024
A unique blend of fiction and biography that explores the fascinating life of early-twentieth-century Czech photographer František Drtikol.

Have you ever wondered what a story written by a beam of light would be like? The story would be ordinary, but the course of events extraordinary.  Its hero would be a photographer, a guardian of light. And, naturally, the tale would be full of shadow.
A History of Light delves into the fascinating life of František Drtikol (1883–1961), an important figure in early-twentieth-century photography who is all but forgotten in contemporary times. A dandy from a small mining town, a world-famous photographer whose business went bankrupt, a master of the nude who never had much luck with women, a mystic and a Buddhist who believed in communism—a man whose numerous contradictions were evident externally and synthesized internally.

A unique blend of fiction and biography, this novel vividly portrays Drtikol’s life, tracing the diverse stages of his career and offering detailed, almost encyclopedic insights into the times and places pivotal to his journey. Acclaimed Czech author Jan Němec narrates the story in the uncommon second-person singular, speaking directly to his subject. Fresco-like, this novel is an artistic and spiritual Bildungsroman that covers over half a century, bringing to life the silver mines of Príbram, Jugendstil Munich, and the Bohemianism of the First Czechoslovak Republic. Drtikol’s role as a photographer is set against the turbulent history of Central Europe through the two World Wars, and the events of those five decades form a riveting backdrop for an exploration of the artist’s work.

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Hobbes's Kingdom of Light
A Study of the Foundations of Modern Political Philosophy
Devin Stauffer
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Was Hobbes the first great architect of modern political philosophy? Highly critical of the classical tradition in philosophy, particularly Aristotle, Hobbes thought that he had established a new science of morality and politics. Devin Stauffer here delves into Hobbes’s critique of the classical tradition, making this oft-neglected aspect of the philosopher’s thought the basis of a new, comprehensive interpretation of his political philosophy.

In Hobbes’s Kingdom of Light, Stauffer argues that Hobbes was engaged in a struggle on multiple fronts against forces, both philosophic and religious, that he thought had long distorted philosophy and destroyed the prospects of a lasting peace in politics. By exploring the twists and turns of Hobbes’s arguments, not only in his famous Leviathan but throughout his corpus, Stauffer uncovers the details of Hobbes’s critique of an older outlook, rooted in classical philosophy and Christian theology, and reveals the complexity of Hobbes’s war against the “Kingdom of Darkness.” He also describes the key features of the new outlook—the “Kingdom of Light”—that Hobbes sought to put in its place. Hobbes’s venture helped to prepare the way for the later emergence of modern liberalism and modern secularism. Hobbes’s Kingdom of Light is a wide-ranging and ambitious exploration of Hobbes’s thought.

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In Light of Stars
Bruce Willard
Four Way Books, 2021

Willard’s love of music combines with his love and respect for the natural world. Often rooted in, or coming out of, domestic encounters, the poems of this collection rise up (much like the clouds over his oft-traversed Rockies), as the speaker throws his attention to earth and sky, better to understand his own dynamic and shifting inner weather.


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Reading the Present in Light of the Past
Jude P. Dougherty
Catholic University of America Press, 2018
Interpretations is a collection of essays produced by the distinguished philosopher Jude Dougherty over the past decade, written to inform or to provide commentary on contemporary issues. In probing the past to interpret the present they draw upon a perspective that one may call classical, the perspective of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and their followers across the ages, notably Thomas Aquinas, and his modern disciples, such as Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain.

The first part of Interpretations is an attempt to understand modernity’s break with the past, the repudiation of Scholasticism and the classical tradition. Dougherty does this by referencing the dominant preoccupations of the Middle Ages, of the Renaissance, of the Reformation, of eighteenth-century British empiricism, and of nineteenth-century German philosophy, drawing upon the readings of Remi Brague, Pierre Manent, and others. What unifies these reflections is the role of religion (both in Christianity and Islam) in society and its impact on the culture, as well as looking at what is called “modernity” where this role becomes reduced or absent.

The second part of the volume examines selected addresses by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI from a philosophical point of view. Benedict, like others through the course of history, has recognized the role of religion in producing cultural unity. These essays are an appreciation primarily of the subtlety of the former pontiff’s thought.

The third part of Interpretations collects essays and addresses on the practice and nature of philosophy that Dean Dougherty has given throughout his career at The Catholic University of America, and reflects the trajectory of his career and the development of his thought.

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Into the Light of Things
The Art of the Commonplace from Wordsworth to John Cage
George J. Leonard
University of Chicago Press, 1994
In this sweeping revision of avant-garde history, John Cage takes his rightful place as Wordsworth's great and final heir. George Leonard traces a direct line back from Cage, Pop, and Conceptual Art through the Futurists to Whitman, Emerson, Ruskin, Carlyle, and Wordsworth, showing how the art of everyday objects, often thought an exclusively contemporary phenomenon, actually began as far back as 1800.

In recovering the links between such seemingly disparate figures, Leonard transforms our understanding of modern culture.

Selected by the American Library Association's journal, Choice, as "one of the Outstanding Academic Books of the Year"

"Leonard's book is a fine example of interdisciplinary studies. He shifts focus persuasively from art theory to literature to religious thought and biography, making his method seem the natural mode of inquiry into culture."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

"Provocative and illuminating."—Library Journal

"Highly stimulating, impassioned."—Publisher's Weekly

"A rich and rewarding study written in a clear and accessible style with excellent references and a very useful index. Highly recommended."—Choice

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The Last of the Light
About Twilight
Peter Davidson
Reaktion Books, 2015
Neither day nor night, twilight has long exerted a fascination for Western artists, thinkers, and writers, while haunting the Romantics and intriguing philosophers and scientists. In The Last of the Light, Peter Davidson takes readers through our culture’s long engagement with the concept of twilight—from the melancholy of smoky English autumn evenings to the midnight sun of northern European summers and beyond. Taking in poets and painters, Victorians and Romans, city and countryside, and deftly combining memoir, literature, philosophy, and art history, Davidson shows how the atmospheric shadows and the in-between nature of twilight has fired the imagination and generated works of incredible beauty, mystery, and romance. Ambitious and brilliantly executed, this is the perfect book for the bedside table, richly rewarding and endlessly thought-provoking.

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Laughing in the Light
Jimmy Santiago Baca
Museum of New Mexico Press, 2020
Jimmy Santiago Baca’s newest collection of essays picks up where his earlier acclaimed book, Working in the Dark, left off. Laughing in the Light is the writer’s first attempt to revisit his past, launching into the past twenty years with a renewed heart and wizened spirit as he shares his experiences, what he has learned along the way, and how his views have changed. Baca delves deeper into contemporary issues as he explores themes ranging from arts, culture, education, and justice reform.

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The Legend of Light
Bob Hicok
University of Wisconsin Press, 1995
Whether Hicok is considering the reflection of human faces in the Vietnam War Memorial or the elements of a “Modern Prototype” factory, he prompts an icy realization that we may have never seen the world as it truly is. But his resilient voice and consistent perspective is neither blaming nor didactic, and ultimately enlightening. From the shadowed corners into which we dare not look clearly, Hicok makes us witness and hero of The Legend of Light.

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Letters of Light
Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design
J.R. Osborn
Harvard University Press, 2017

Arabic script remains one of the most widely employed writing systems in the world, for Arabic and non-Arabic languages alike. Focusing on naskh—the style most commonly used across the Middle East—Letters of Light traces the evolution of Arabic script from its earliest inscriptions to digital fonts, from calligraphy to print and beyond. J. R. Osborn narrates this storied past for historians of the Islamic and Arab worlds, for students of communication and technology, and for contemporary practitioners.

The partnership of reed pen and paper during the tenth century inaugurated a golden age of Arabic writing. The shape and proportions of classical calligraphy known as al-khatt al-mansub were formalized, and variations emerged to suit different types of content. The rise of movable type quickly led to European experiments in printing Arabic texts. Ottoman Turkish printers, more sensitive than their European counterparts to the script’s nuances, adopted movable type more cautiously. Debates about “reforming” Arabic script for print technology persisted into the twentieth century.

Arabic script continues to evolve in the digital age. Programmers have adapted it to the international Unicode standard, greatly facilitating Arabic presence online and in word processing. Technology companies are investing considerable resources to facilitate support of Arabic in their products. Professional designers around the world are bringing about a renaissance in the Arabic script community as they reinterpret classical aesthetics and push new boundaries in digital form.


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Michael I. Sobel
University of Chicago Press, 1989
Rainbows and exploding stars, ancient Greek optics and modern lasers—these are but a few facets of this entertaining exploration of light in all areas of science and technology.

"Like the denizens of some brilliant ocean, humans are awash in light. Surrounded by illuminations both natural and artificial, we remain blissfully unaware of how light determines most of life's rhythms and rituals or how it dominates every field of modern science. Michael I. Sobel, a professor of physics at Brooklyn College, has attempted no less a task than to enlighten us (see how it pervades our language) about the many facets of this ubiquitous phenomenon, from its earliest stirrings of emotion and wonder in ancient savants to its modern applications in lasers and silicon chips. His broader objective, however, is to show the unity of the natural sciences by using light as a central theme. . . . As a guide along the path of light Mr. Sobel is excellent."—James Cornell, New York Times Book Review
"At long last, here is a book about a technical subject that anyone can read with interest and understand. . . . The author's technical genius and communication skills are combined with excellent lucid sketches, concise meaty captions, and fascinating photographs."—Jason R. Taylor, Science Books and Films

“The title says it all. It is simply a magnificent dissertation on every aspect of light. Its lucid and attractive prose may be read for pleasure and wonder, yet the book is also a reference book of authority. I doubt whether any question about light cannot be answered by consulting it, whether the question is about glow-worms or the aurora borealis, black bodies of the structure of the eye, mirages or fluorescence. This is a marvelous book, one of the best paperbacks I have ever encountered.”—New Scientist

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Light and Glory
The Transfiguration of Christ in Early Franciscan and Dominican Theology
Aaron Canty
Catholic University of America Press, 2011
Light and Glory offers an engaging comparison of the teachings of seven thirteenth-century theologians -- three Franciscans and four Dominicans -- on the subject of the transfiguration of Christ.

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Light As Light
Simon J. Ortiz
University of Arizona Press, 2023
Light As Light is acclaimed poet Simon J. Ortiz’s first collection in twenty years. The poems in this volume celebrate the wonders and joy of love in the present while also looking back with both humorous and serious reflections on youth and the stories, scenes, people, and places that shape a person’s life. Light As Light brims with giddy, wistful long-distance love poems that offer a dialogue between the speaker and his beloved. Written in Ortiz’s signature conversational style, this volume claims poetry for everyday life as the poems find the speaker on a morning run, burnt out from academic responsibilities, missing his beloved, reflecting on sobriety, walking the dog, and pondering the act of poem making. The collection also includes prayer poems written for the speaker’s son; poems that retell traditional Acoma stories and history; and poems that engage environmental, political, and social justice issues—making for a well-rounded collection that blends the playful and the profound.

The poems in Light As Light travel far across both space and memory, landing everywhere from the New Mexico of the speaker’s childhood, to California, Tucson, and present-day Beijing, and many airports, highways, and way stations in between. The central concern uniting this collection is language itself: the weight and significance of English and Keres, as well as the nature and power of poetry as a way of life. No collection of Indigenous literature is complete without the work of Simon Ortiz, and this book is a powerful journey through the poet’s life—both a love letter to the future, and a sentimental, authentic celebration of the past.

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Light from the East
Abbasid Freethinking in the Genealogies of Universal Humanism
Aziz Al-Azmeh
Harvard University Press

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Light in Germany
Scenes from an Unknown Enlightenment
T. J. Reed
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Germany’s political and cultural past from ancient times through World War II has dimmed the legacy of its Enlightenment, which these days is far outshone by those of France and Scotland. In this book, T. J. Reed clears the dust away from eighteenth-century Germany, bringing the likes of Kant, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Gotthold Lessing into a coherent and focused beam that shines within European intellectual history and reasserts the important role of Germany’s Enlightenment.
Reed looks closely at the arguments, achievements, conflicts, and controversies of these major thinkers and how their development of a lucid and active liberal thinking matured in the late eighteenth century into an imaginative branching that ran through philosophy, theology, literature, historiography, science, and politics. He traces the various pathways of their thought and how one engendered another, from the principle of thinking for oneself to the development of a critical epistemology; from literature’s assessment of the past to the formulation of a poetic ideal of human development. Ultimately, Reed shows how the ideas of the German Enlightenment have proven their value in modern secular democracies and are still of great relevance—despite their frequent dismissal—to us in the twenty-first century. 

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Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro
Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality
Gloria E. Anzaldua
Duke University Press, 2015
Light in the Dark is the culmination of Gloria E. Anzaldúa's mature thought and the most comprehensive presentation of her philosophy. Focusing on aesthetics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, it contains several developments in her many important theoretical contributions.

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The Light of Christ
An Introduction to Catholicism
Thomas Joseph White, OP
Catholic University of America Press, 2017
The Light of Christ provides an accessible presentation of Catholicism that is grounded in traditional theology, but engaged with a host of contemporary questions or objections. Inspired by the theologies of Iranaeus, Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman, and rooted in a post-Vatican II context, Fr. Thomas Joseph White presents major doctrines of the Christian religion in a way that is comprehensible for non-specialists: knowledge of God, the mystery of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the atonement, the sacraments and the moral life, eschatology and prayer.

At the same time, The Light of Christ also addresses topics such as evolution, the modern historical study of Jesus and the Bible, and objections to Catholic moral teaching. Touching on the concerns of contemporary readers, Fr. White examines questions such as whether Christianity is compatible with the findings of the modern sciences, do historical Jesus studies disrupt or confirm the teaching of the faith, and does history confirm the antiquity of Catholic claims.

This book serves as an excellent introduction for young professionals with no specialized background in theology who are interested in learning more about Catholicism, or as an introduction to Catholic theology. It will also serve as a helpful text for theology courses in a university context.

As Fr. White states in the book’s introduction: “This is a book that offers itself as a companion. I do not presume to argue the reader into the truths of the Catholic faith, though I will make arguments. My goal is to make explicit in a few broad strokes the shape of Catholicism. I hope to outline its inherent intelligibility or form as a mystery that is at once visible and invisible, ancient and contemporary, mystical and reasonable.”

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The Light of Desire
La Luz del Deseo
Marjorie Agosín
Swan Isle Press, 2009

Marjorie Agosín’s intensely personal long poem The Light of Desire is both a secular and sacred meditation on love and its meanings in the land of Israel. Following the tradition of the Song of Songs and the secular poetry of Sepharad, the beloved in The Light of Desire is both physical and metaphorical. The lovers’ bodies are the paths, the geography, leading not only from desire to sensual pleasure, but to memory and illumination. The light on the pink stones of Jerusalem, the sunlight of Galilee, from hills to the sea, the fragrant air and “mantle of stars,” all become one in this tender, rhapsodic expression of longing and desire. This is not unrequited love, but rather a reciprocal passion that brings exquisite pleasure, pain, a sense of fragility, and the hope and belief in that which is eternal.

The poem was written over a four-year span in Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood, overlooking the wall of the Second Temple, and these hallowed surroundings imbued Agosín’s poetic voice. Lori Marie Carlson’s sensitive translation maintains the spirit of the original Spanish in this bilingual edition.


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Light of Reason, Light of Faith
Joseph Ratzinger and the German Enlightenment
Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai
St. Augustine's Press, 2021
Fr. Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai, a native of Cameroon, has written a fresh, exciting new study of the lifelong engagement of Josef Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, with the German Enlightenment and its contemporary manifestations and heirs. Contemporary European disdain for organized religion and the rise in secularism on that continent has deep roots in the German Enlightenment. To understand contemporary Europe, one must return to this crucial epoch in its history, to those who shaped the European mind of this era, and to a study of the ideas they espoused and propagated. These ideas, for good or for ill, have taken hold in other parts of the modern world, being incarnated in many minds and institutions in contemporary society and threatening to enthrone a disfigured rationality without faith or a sense of Transcendence.

Ratzinger’s extraordinary and sympathetic understanding of the sources of contemporary secularism equipped him to appreciate the gains of the Enlightenment, while still being a fierce critic of the losses humanity has suffered when reason falsely excludes faith. Fr. Agbaw-Ebai’s account reveals Ratzinger, in relation to his various interlocutors, to be the truly “enlightened” one because he demonstrates a truly balanced understanding of the human mind. To be truly rational one must be able to hold to faith and reason both, reason informed by faith in Jesus Christ.

A particular merit of this book is Agbaw-Ebai’s presentation of Ratzinger’s treatment of the  German Enlightenment’s greatest contributors: Kant, Nietzche, Hegel and Habermas, among others. In the postscript George Weigel characterizes what this study accomplishes in the larger framework of scholarship. “[Ratzinger’s] position remains too often misunderstood, and sometimes deliberately misinterpreted, throughout the whole Church. And to misunderstand, or misinterpret, Ratzinger is to misunderstand or misinterpret both the modern history of theology and the Second Vatican Council.” Agbaw-Ebai masterfully positions Ratzinger correctly in the history of ideas, and exhibits why Ratzinger will be remembered as one of its main players. Pure rationalists and true believers are equally indebted to him.

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The Light of the Home
An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian America
Harvey Green
University of Arkansas Press, 2003
From the greatest collection of American Victoriana comes a wonderful evocation of the lives of women 100 years ago. Harvey Green culls from letters and diaries, quotes from magazines, and looks at the clothes, samplers, books, appliances, toys, and dolls of the era to provide a rare portrait of daily life in turn-of-the-century America.

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Light on the Devils
Coming of Age on the Klamath
Louise Wagenknecht
Oregon State University Press, 2011

When Louise Wagenknecht’s family arrived in the remote logging town of Happy Camp in 1962, a boundless optimism reigned. Whites and Indians worked together in the woods and the lumber mills of northern California’s Klamath country. Logging and lumber mills, it seemed, would hold communities together forever.

But that booming prosperity would come to an end. Looking back on her teenage years spent along the Klamath River, Louise Wagenknecht recounts a vanishing way of life. She explores the dynamics of family relationships and the contradictions of being female in a western logging town in the 1960s. And she paints an evocative portrait of the landscape and her relationship with it.

Light on the Devils is a captivating memoir of place. It will appeal to general readers interested in the rural West, personal memoir, history, and natural history.


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Light on the Path
The Anthropology and History of the Southeastern Indians
Thomas J. Pluckhahn
University of Alabama Press, 2006
A seamless social history of the native peoples of the American South, bridging prehistory and history.
The past 20 years have witnessed a change in the study of the prehistory and history of the native peoples of the American South. This paradigm shift is the bridging of prehistory and history to fashion a seamless social history that includes not only the 16th-century Late Mississippian period and the 18th-century colonial period but also the largely forgotten--and critically important--century in between.  The shift is in part methodological, for it involves combining methods from anthropology, history, and archaeology. It is also conceptual and theoretical, employing historical and archaeological data to reconstruct broad patterns of history--not just political history with Native  Americans as a backdrop, nor simply an archaeology with added historical specificity, but a true social history of the Southeastern Indians, spanning their entire existence in the American South.

The scholarship underlying this shift comes from many directions, but much of the groundwork can be attributed to Charles Hudson. The papers in this volume were contributed by Hudson’s colleagues and former students (many now leading scholars themselves) in his honor.  The assumption links these papers is that of a historical transformation between Mississippian societies and the Indian societies of the historic era that requires explanation and critical analysis.

In all of the chapters, the legacy of Hudson’s work is evident. Anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians are storming the bridge that connects prehistory and history in a manner unimaginable 20 years ago.  While there remains much work to do on the path toward understanding this transformation and constructing a complete social history of the Southeastern Indians, the work of Charles Hudson and his colleagues have shown the way.

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The Light the Dead See
Selected Poems of Frank Stanford
Frank Stanford
University of Arkansas Press, 1991

Between 1972, when he published his first book, The Signing Knives, and 1978, when he died at the age of twenty-nine, Frank Stanford published seven volumes of poetry. Within a year of his death, two posthumous collections were published. At the time of this death, as Leon Stokesbury asserts in his introduction, “Stanford was the best poet in America under the age of thirty-five.”

The Light the Dead See collects the best work from those nine volumes and six previously unpublished poems. In the earlier poems, Stanford creates a world where he could keep childhood alive, deny time and mutability, and place a version of himself at the center of great myth and drama.

Later, the denial of time and mutability gives way to an obsessive and familiar confrontation with death. Although Stanford paid an enormous price for his growing familiarity with Death as a presence, the direct address to that presence is a source of much of the striking originality and stunning power in the poetry.


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The Art and Science of Light, 800–1600
Kristen Collins
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2024
Sumptuously illustrated with dazzling objects, this publication explores the ways art and science worked hand in hand in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Through the manipulation of materials, such as gold, crystal, and glass, medieval artists created dazzling light-filled environments, evoking, in the everyday world, the layered realms of the divine. While contemporary society separates science and spirituality, the medieval world harnessed the science of light to better perceive and understand the sacred. From 800 to 1600, the study of astronomy, geometry, and optics emerged as a framework that was utilized by theologians and artists to comprehend both the sacred realm and the natural world.

Through essays written by contributors from the fields of art history, the history of science, and neuroscience, and with more than two hundred illustrations, including glimmering golden reliquaries, illuminated manuscripts, rock crystal vessels, astronomical instruments, and more, Lumen cuts across religious, political, and geographic boundaries to reveal the ways medieval Christian, Jewish, and Islamic artists, theologians, and thinkers studied light. To convey the sense of wonder created by moving light on precious materials, a number of contemporary artworks are placed in dialogue with historic objects.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from September 10 to December 8, 2024.

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Lunacy of Light
Emily Dickinson and the Experience of Metaphor
Wendy Barker
Southern Illinois University Press

"Are you afraid of the sun?" Emily Dickinson asked a friend in 1859.

Wendy Barker states here that that apparently casual query reveals a major theme of Dickinson’s poetry, a theme she shares with women writers ranging from Anne Finch to Anne Sexton. It is a tradition based upon the inversion of the traditional male-centered metaphors of light and dark. Through time the light-giving sun has represented vitality, order, God; the light-swallowing night death, chaos, Satan. These metaphors are reinforced in the writing of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Keats,but Eliot, Brontë, Browning, and Dickinson use the sun and images of light quite differently.

Barker argues that since light was a masculine tradition, ithad come to represent male power, energy, sexuality—not only to Dickinson but to other women writing during the era. To these writers the inversion of the light/darkness metaphor became a countertradition used as a means to express their energies in a society that was hostile to their intelligence. Dickinson, who read avidly, could not have been insensitive to this usage of light as a masculine symbol—of her Calvinist God, of her father, of all that was male—and of darkness as a feminine symbol.

Emily Dickinson thought in a richly symbolic manner. Her most frequently used metaphor is one of light in contrast to darkness, employing single-word references to light more than one thousand times in her 1,775 poems. Barker offers close readings and new interpretations of some previously overlooked or misunderstood poems and demonstrates that "Many of her most ecstatic images are oflittle lights created from darkness." Inanswer to those critics who have characterized her poems as being piecemeal, Barker argues that Dickinson’s consistent use of light as a metaphor unifies her poetry.

In her final chapter, Barker explores the ways in which twentieth-century female writers have carried on the countertradition of the light/darkness metaphor. "That Dickinson was able so brilliantly to transform and transcend the normative metaphoric patterning of her culture, creating, in effect, a metaphor of her own, has much to do with the genius of her art."


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Madness and Modernism
Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought
Louis Sass
Harvard University Press
The similarities between madness and modernism are striking: defiance of authority, nihilism, extreme relativism, distortions of time, strange transformations of self, and much more. In this brilliant book, Louis Sass, a clinical psychologist, offers a startlingly new vision of schizophrenia, comparing it with the works of such artists and writers as Kafka, Beckett, and Duchamp and considering the ideas of philosophers including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. Here is a highly original portrait of the world of the madman, along with a provocative commentary on modernist and postmodernist culture.

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Maimonides' Empire of Light
Popular Enlightenment in an Age of Belief
Ralph Lerner
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Much of the writing of and about the twelfth-century rabbi, philosopher, and theologian Moses Maimonides is addressed to an elite audience of philosophers and intellectuals. Here, Ralph Lerner's exploration of Maimonides' popular writings reveals that the education of the common man was one of the great teacher's chief concerns.

Lerner describes the brilliant and sometimes wily ways in which Maimonides sought to break through the despair and superstition that gripped the Jewish people's minds, without sacrificing the dignity and core of his message. These writings—presented here in uncommonly accurate, mostly new translations—also reveal that Maimonides was willing to risk the scorn of his contemporaries to enlighten both his own and future generations. By addressing the writings of Maimonides' disciples, including Shem Tov ben Joseph Ibn Falaquera in the mid-thirteenth century and Joseph Albo in the fifteenth century, Lerner shows how this technique was passed on.

In striking contrast to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, Maimonides' enlightenment is premised on the inequality of understandings and other differences between the elite and the common people. Instead of scorning the past, Lerner shows, Maimonides' enlightenment invests it with a new and ennobling dignity. A valuable reference for students of political philosophy and Jewish studies, Lerner's elegantly written book also brings to life the richness and relevance of medieval Jewish thought for all those interested in the Jewish tradition.

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The Motion Of Light In Water
Sex And Science Fiction Writing In The East Village
Samuel R. Delany
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

Winner of the Hugo Award for Non-fiction
The unexpurgated edition of the award-winning autobiography

Born in New York City’s black ghetto Harlem at the start of World War II, Samuel R. Delany married white poet Marilyn Hacker right out of high school. The interracial couple moved into the city’s new bohemian quarter, the Lower East Side, in summer 1961. Through the decade’s opening years, new art, new sexual practices, new music, and new political awareness burgeoned among the crowded streets and cheap railroad apartments. Beautifully, vividly, insightfully, Delany calls up this era of exploration and adventure as he details his development as a black gay writer in an open marriage, with tertiary walk-ons by Bob Dylan, Stokely Carmichael, W. H. Auden, and James Baldwin, and a panoply of brilliantly drawn secondary characters.


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Navajo Beadwork
Architectures of Light
Ellen K. Moore
University of Arizona Press, 2003
Sunset. Fire. Rainbow. Drawing on such common occurrences of light, Navajo artists have crafted an uncommon array of design in colored glass beads. Beadwork is an art form introduced to the Navajos through other Indian and Euro-American contacts, but it is one that they have truly made their own. More than simple crafts, Navajo beaded designs are architectures of light.

Ellen Moore has written the first history of Navajo beadwork—belts and hatbands, baskets and necklaces—in a book that examines both the influence of Navajo beliefs in the creation of this art and the primacy of light and color in Navajo culture. Navajo Beadwork: Architectures of Light traces the evolution of the art as explained by traders, Navajo consultants, and Navajo beadworkers themselves. It also shares the visions, words, and art of 23 individual artists to reveal the influences on their creativity and show how they go about creating their designs.

As Moore reveals, Navajo beadwork is based on an aggregate of beliefs, categories, and symbols that are individually interpreted and transposed into beaded designs. Most designs are generated from close observation of light in the natural world, then structured according to either Navajo tradition or the newer spirituality of the Native American Church. For many beadworkers, creating designs taps deeply embedded beliefs so that beaded objects reflect their thoughts and prayers, their aesthetic sensibilities, and their sense of being Navajo—but above all, their attention to light and its properties.

No other book offers such an intimate view of this creative process, and its striking color plates attest to the wondrous results. Navajo Beadwork: Architectures of Light is a valuable record of ethnographic research and a rich source of artistic insight for lovers of beadwork and Native American art.

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Neolithic Revolution
New Perspectives on Southwest Asia in Light of Recent Discoveries on Cyprus (Levant Supplementary): No. 1
E. Peltenburg
Council for British Research in the Levant, 2004
The move towards a sedentary way of life had a profound effect on the human way of life: the development of complex societies can be directly attributed to the beginnings of farming in place of a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle. When Gordon Childe coined the term 'Neolithic revolution' he meant it to reflect these vast changes that had occurred in the near east. This book extends the reach of these changes to include Cyprus, presenting new evidence that shows that the island played host to settled farming communities at the same time as the mainland, pushing its habitation back by 2000 years.

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New Negro Artists in Paris
African American Painters and Sculptors in the City of Light, 1922-1934
Leininger-Miller, Theresa
Rutgers University Press, 2001
The New Negro Artist in Paris analyzes the experiences and works of six African American artists who lived and worked in Paris during the Jazz Age sculptors Elizabeth Prophet and Augusta Savage, and painters Palmer Hayden, Hale Woodruff, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., and Albert Alexander Smith. More than 120 works of art are analyzed, many never before published.

These artists exhibited the works they created in Paris at prestigious salons in France and in the United States, winning fellowships, grants, and awards. Leininger-Miller argues that it was study abroad that won these artists critical acclaim, establishing their reputations as some of the most significant leaders of the New Negro movement in the visual arts. She begins her study with a history of the debut of African American artists in Paris, 1830–1914, then provides readers with rarely seen profiles of each of the six artists from their birth through the end of their time abroad. Finally, Leininger-Miller examines patterns and differences in these individuals’ backgrounds and development, their patronage in the United States and France, their shared experiences abroad, and the impact their study in Paris had on the rest of their careers.

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Of Darkness and Light
Poems by Kim Cornwall
Edited by Wendy Erd
University of Alaska Press, 2019
This is the hardest kind of listening. / And who will care? / Most do not. / It’s all applause, / applause applause. / How is it possible / to ask for more than that?
An honest work, stunningly passionate: Kim Cornwall’s spirit-infused poetry weaves family and myth—strong women, wild landscapes, the search for reconciliation in circumstances beyond control—in a radiant language of pain, solace, wonder, and gratitude. This remarkable first and last collection of poetry celebrates and chronicles the borderless area between joy and suffering, like breath after long submersion: for one must breech the surface/where what we most need/ lives.

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Paper and Light
Luminous Drawings
Julian Brooks
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2024
This volume looks at the techniques and materials that artists have utilized since the Renaissance to create spectacular light effects in drawings.

The treatment of light and shadow is one of the building blocks of drawing. From techniques such as highlights and reserves, to material selection and the creation of translucent tracing paper, to the use of light as a medium for viewing artworks, artists for hundreds of years have found innovative and dazzling ways to create light on a sheet of paper.

This publication examines the central relationship between paper and light in the world of drawings in western European art from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Focusing on drawings from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as works from the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, and others, and featuring masterful works by such artists as Parmigianino, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Poussin, Odilon Redon, Edgar Degas, and Georges Seurat, Paper and Light will entice readers to look longer and more closely at drawings, deriving an even deeper appreciation for the skill and labor that went into them.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from October 15, 2024, to January 19, 2025.

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Paris Concealed
Masks in the City of Light
James H. Johnson
University of Chicago Press
A comprehensive history of masks in France from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.
Masks can conceal, disguise, or protect. They can announce status, inspire delight, or spread fear. They can also betray trust through insincerity, deceit, and hypocrisy. In Paris Concealed, historian James H. Johnson offers a sweeping history of masks both visible and unseen from the time of Louis XIV to the late nineteenth century, exploring the complex roles that masking and unmasking have played in the fashioning of our social selves.
Drawing from memoirs, novels, plays, and paintings, Paris Concealed explores the many domains in which masks have been decisive. Beginning in the court of Versailles, Johnson charts the genesis of courtly politesse and its wide condemnation by Enlightenment philosophers and political thinkers. He narrates strategies in the French Revolution for unmasking traitors and later efforts to penetrate criminal disguises through telltale marks on the body. He portrays the disruptive power of masks in public balls and carnivals and, with the coming of modernity, evokes their unsettling presence within the unconscious. 
Compellingly written and beautifully illustrated, Paris Concealed lays bare the mask’s transformations, from marking one’s position in a static society to embracing imagined identities in meritocracies to impeding the elusive search for one’s true self.  To tell the history of masks, Johnson shows, is to tell the history of modern selfhood.

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Paris in the Dark
Going to the Movies in the City of Light, 1930–1950
Eric Smoodin
Duke University Press, 2020
In Paris in the Dark Eric Smoodin takes readers on a journey through the streets, cinemas, and theaters of Paris to sketch a comprehensive picture of French film culture during the 1930s and 1940s. Drawing on a wealth of journalistic sources, Smoodin recounts the ways films moved through the city, the favored stars, and what it was like to go to the movies in a city with hundreds of cinemas. In a single week in the early 1930s, moviegoers might see Hollywood features like King Kong and Frankenstein, the new Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier movies, and any number of films from Italy, Germany, and Russia. Or they could frequent the city's ciné-clubs, which were hosts to the cinéphile subcultures of Paris. At other times, a night at the movies might result in an evening of fascist violence, even before the German Occupation of Paris, while after the war the city's cinemas formed the space for reconsolidating French film culture. In mapping the cinematic geography of Paris, Smoodin expands understandings of local film exhibition and the relationships of movies to urban space.

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The Presence of Light
Divine Radiance and Religious Experience
Edited by Matthew T. Kapstein
University of Chicago Press, 2004
There is perhaps no greater constant in religious intuition and experience than the presence of light. In spiritual traditions East and West, light is not only ubiquitous but something that assumes strikingly similar forms in altogether different historical and cultural settings. This study examines light as an aspect of religiously valued experiences and its entailments for mystical theology, philosophy, politics, and religious art.

The essays in this volume make an important contribution to religious studies by proposing that it is misleading to conceive of religious experience in terms of an irreconcilable dichotomy between universality and cultural construction. An esteemed group of contributors, representing the study of Asian and Western religious traditions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, suggests that attention to various forms of divine radiance shows that there is indeed a range of principles that, if not universal, are nevertheless very widely occurring and amenable to fruitful comparative inquiry. What results is a work of enormous scope, demonstrating compelling cross-connections that will be of value to scholars of comparative religions, mysticism, and the relationship between art and the sacred.

* Catherine B. Asher
* Raoul Birnbaum
* Sarah Iles Johnston
* Matthew T. Kapstein
* Andrew Louth
* Paul E. Muller-Ortega
* Elliot R. Wolfson
* Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan
* Hossein Ziai

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A Ray of Light in a Sea of Dark Matter
Keeton, Charles
Rutgers University Press, 2015
 What’s in the dark?  Countless generations have gazed up at the night sky and asked this question—the same question that cosmologists ask themselves as they study the universe. 

The answer turns out to be surprising and rich. The space between stars is filled with an exotic substance called “dark matter” that exerts gravity but does not emit, absorb, or reflect light. The space between galaxies is rife with “dark energy” that creates a sort of cosmic antigravity causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. Together, dark matter and dark energy account for 95 percent of the content of the universe. News reporters and science journalists routinely talk about these findings using terms that they assume we have a working knowledge of, but do you really understand how astronomers arrive at their findings or what it all means?

Cosmologists face a conundrum: how can we study substances we cannot see, let alone manipulate? A powerful approach is to observe objects whose motion is influenced by gravity.  Einstein predicted that gravity can act like a lens to bend light. Today we see hundreds of cases of this—instances where the gravity of a distant galaxy distorts our view of a more distant object, creating multiple images or spectacular arcs on the sky. Gravitational lensing is now a key part of the international quest to understand the invisible substance that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the universe together. 

A Ray of Light in a Sea of Dark Matter offers readers a concise, accessible explanation of how astronomers probe dark matter.  Readers quickly gain an understanding of what might be out there, how scientists arrive at their findings, and why this research is important to us. Engaging and insightful, Charles Keeton gives everyone an opportunity to be an active learner and listener in our ever-expanding universe.

Watch a video with Charles Keeton:

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River of Light
A Conversation with Kabir
John Morgan
University of Alaska Press, 2014
Surrender to a wild river and unexpected things can happen. Time on the water can produce moments of pristine clarity or hatch wild thoughts, foster a deep connection with the real world or summon the spiritual.

River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir is centered in one man’s meditations and revelations while traveling on a river. John Morgan spent a week traveling the Copper River in Southcentral Alaska, and the resulting encounters form the heart of this book-length poem. The river’s shifting landscape enriches the poem’s meditative mood while currents shape the poem and the pacing of its lines. The mystic poet Kabir is Morgan’s internal guide and serves as a divine foil through quiet stretches that bring to mind questions about war and human nature. Artwork by distinguished Alaska artist Kesler Woodward is a sublime companion to the text.

A combination of adventurer’s tale and spiritual quest, River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir takes the reader on a soulful journey that is both deeply personal and profoundly universal.

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Sanctuaries of Earth, Stone, and Light
The Churches of Northern New Spain, 1530-1821
Gloria Fraser Giffords
University of Arizona Press, 2007
Over nearly three centuries, Jesuit, Franciscan, and Dominican missionaries built a network of churches throughout the “new world” of New Spain. Since the early twentieth century, scholars have studied the colonial architecture of southern New Spain, but they have largely ignored the architecture of the north. However, as this book clearly demonstrates, the colonial architecture of Northern New Spain—an area that encompasses most of the southwestern United States and much of northern Mexico—is strikingly beautiful and rich with meaning. After more than two decades of research, both in the field and in archives around the world, Gloria Fraser Giffords has authored the definitive book on this architecture.

Giffords has a remarkable eye for detail and for images both grand and diminutive. Because so many of the buildings she examines have been destroyed, she sleuthed through historical records in several countries, and she discovered that the architecture and material culture of northern New Spain reveal the influences of five continents. As she examines objects as large as churches or as small as ornamental ceramic tile she illuminates the sometimes subtle, sometimes striking influences of the religious, social, and artistic traditions of Europe (from the beginning of the Christian era through the nineteenth century), of the Muslim countries ringing the Mediterranean (from the seventh through the fifteenth centuries), and of Northern New Spain’s indigenous peoples (whose art influenced the designs of occupying Europeans).

Sanctuaries of Earth, Stone, and Light is a pathbreaking book, featuring 200 stunning photographs and over 300 illustrations ranging from ceremonial garments to detailed floor plans of the churches.

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Seeing the Light
The Social Logic of Personal Discovery
Thomas DeGloma
University of Chicago Press, 2014
The chorus of the Christian hymn “Amazing Grace” reads, “I once was lost, but now am found, / Was blind but now I see.” Composed by a minister who formerly worked as a slave trader, the song expresses his experience of divine intervention that ultimately caused him to see the error of his ways. This theme of personal awakening is a feature of countless stories throughout history, where the “lost” and the “blind” are saved from darkness and despair by suddenly seeing the light.
In Seeing the Light, Thomas DeGloma explores such accounts of personal awakening, in stories that range from the discovery of a religious truth to remembering a childhood trauma to embracing a new sexual orientation. He reveals a common social pattern: When people discover a life-changing truth, they typically ally with a new community. Individuals then use these autobiographical stories to shape their stances on highly controversial issues such as childhood abuse, war and patriotism, political ideology, human sexuality, and religion. Thus, while such stories are seemingly very personal, they also have a distinctly social nature. Tracing a wide variety of narratives through nearly three thousand years of history, Seeing the Light uncovers the common threads of such stories and reveals the crucial, little-recognized social logic of personal discovery.

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The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice
Krista Thompson
Duke University Press, 2015
In Jamaican dancehalls competition for the video camera's light is stiff, so much so that dancers sometimes bleach their skin to enhance their visibility. In the Bahamas, tuxedoed students roll into prom in tricked-out sedans, staging grand red-carpet entrances that are designed to ensure they are seen being photographed. Throughout the United States and Jamaica friends pose in front of hand-painted backgrounds of Tupac, flashy cars, or brand-name products popularized in hip-hop culture in countless makeshift roadside photography studios. And visual artists such as Kehinde Wiley remix the aesthetic of Western artists with hip-hop culture in their portraiture. In Shine, Krista Thompson examines these and other photographic practices in the Caribbean and United States, arguing that performing for the camera is more important than the final image itself. For the members of these African diasporic communities, seeking out the camera's light—whether from a cell phone, Polaroid, or video camera—provides a means with which to represent themselves in the public sphere. The resulting images, Thompson argues, become their own forms of memory, modernity, value, and social status that allow for cultural formation within and between African diasporic communities.

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The Sound of Light
A History of Gospel Music
Don Cusic
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990
Don Cusic presents gospel music as part of the history of contemporary Christianity. From the psalms of the early Puritans through the hymns of Isaac Watts and the social activism of the Wesleys, gospel music was established in eighteenth-century America. With the camp meetings songs of the Kentucky Revival and the spirituals and hymns that stemmed from the Civil War and beyond, gospel music grew through the nineteenth century and expanded through new technologies in the twentieth century.

front cover of The Story They Told Us of Light
The Story They Told Us of Light
Rodney Jones
University of Alabama Press, 1980
Jones has a lyrical mind and meanders through memory and imagination in his poems, fusing them and making them work to surprise the reader with intriguing and challenging images. The collection builds beautifully, each section nurturing the others, and all of it displays Jones’s fine talent—keenly intelligent, human, and compassionate. His quick, splendid sense of humor surprises the reader, playing one image off another that is seemingly unrelated to the first, yet achieving a sense of rightness in poem after poem.

front cover of Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light
Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light
Peter Handke
Seagull Books, 2010

Described as an answer to or at least an echo of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape?, Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light, by esteemed Austrian playwright and novelist Peter Handke, is a monologue delivered by the “she” in Beckett’s play. This unnamed female similarly recalls other significant women protagonists in Handke’s own work such as The Left-handed Woman. Handke prefaces the monologue in Till Day You Do PartOr a Question of Light with a description of two stone figures. While the male figure remains “as dead and gone as anyone can,” the female bursts into life, and her monologue gradually focuses on Krapp’s use of pauses and language to dominate the other characters in the Beckett play. Ultimately, however, her complaints and critique of Krapp become a declaration of her love for Krapp or at least an affirmation of their attachment, as the two of them are ultimately bound together, perhaps even inseparable. 

Till Day You Do Part Or a Question of Light  
is Handke at his best, evidencing the great skill, psychological acumen, and vision for which his work has been celebrated.


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Tricks of the Light
New and Selected Poems
Vicki Hearne
University of Chicago Press, 2007
From The Horse That, Trotting
The horse that, trotting with open heart
Against the wind, achieves bend and flow
Will live forever. So far, so good,
But they never do, until too late,
Bend properly and time spreads from
The momentary hesitations
Of their spines, circles their tossing necks,
Falls from their teeth like rejected oats,
Litters the ground like penitence.
This is where we come in, where the drop
Of time congeals the air and someone
Speaks to the discouraged grass . . .
Tricks of the Light explores the often fraught relationships between domestic animals and humans through mythological figurations, vibrant thought, and late-modern lyrics that seem to test their own boundaries. Vicki Hearne (1946–2001), best known and celebrated today as a writer of strikingly original poetry and prose, was a capable dog and horse trainer, and sometimes controversial animal advocate.

This definitive collection of Hearne’s poetry spans the entirety of her illustrious career, from her first book, Nervous Horses (1980), to never-before-published poems composed on her deathbed. But no matter the source, each of her meditative, metaphysical lyrics possesses that rare combination of philosophical speculation, practical knowledge of animals, and an unusually elegant style unlike that of any other poet writing today. Before her untimely death, Hearne entrusted the manuscript to distinguished poet, scholar, and long-time friend John Hollander, whose introduction provides both critical and personal insight into the poet’s magnum opus. Tricks of the Light—acute, vibrant, and deeply informed—is a sensuous reckoning of the connection between humans and the natural world.
Praise for The Parts of Light
Hearne . . . strives to capture exactly what she knows she can't—the intense immediacy of animal consciousness, a consciousness free of the moral vagaries and intellectual preoccupations that pockmark human experience. Her style, smooth in some places, choppy in others, reflects both the wholeness of animal presence and the jarring, fragmentary nature of human reason and reflection. Hearne's poems demand participation, refuse passive enjoyment; she dares the reader to stay in the saddle.”—Publishers Weekly

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The Trouble with Light
Jeremy Michael Clark
University of Arkansas Press, 2024
In The Trouble with Light, Jeremy Michael Clark reflects on the legacy of familial trauma as he delves into questions about belonging, survival, knowledge, and self-discovery in unflinching lyrical poems. “Like you,” he writes, “I have . . . [a] history of / hardly caring for my body, of letting / whoever drink their share of me, / thinking it could cure / my fear of dirt.” Whether ruminating on intimacy, lineage, identity, faith, or addiction, Clark’s poems embody a restless, rigorous curiosity. Largely set in the poet’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, his portraits of interiority gracefully juxtapose the sorrows of alienation and self-neglect with the restorative power of human connection. In one of the most affectionate—and characteristically ambivalent—poems in the collection, Clark recalls, “For days, doubt struck as does lightning / across the span of night. . . . Love? If it exists, / it’s the uncertainty one feels before a thunderclap, / after the sky’s gone dark again.” A vulnerable and transporting debut, The Trouble with Light is a vital record of how grief can endure, and how we can yet endure ourselves.

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True Faith, True Light
The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley
Kelly Mulhollan
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
In 1979, Ed Stilley was leading a simple life as a farmer and singer of religious hymns in Hogscald Hollow, a tiny Ozark community south of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Life was filled with hard work and making do for Ed, his wife Eliza, and their five children, who lived in many ways as if the second half of the twentieth century had never happened.

But one day Ed’s life was permanently altered. While plowing his field, he became convinced he was having a heart attack. Ed stopped his work and lay down on the ground. Staring at the sky, he saw himself as a large tortoise struggling to swim across a river. On his back were five small tortoises—his children—clinging to him for survival. And then, as he lay there in the freshly plowed dirt, Ed received a vision from God, telling him that he would be restored to health if he would agree to do one thing: make musical instruments and give them to children.

And so he did. Beginning with a few simple hand tools, Ed worked tirelessly for twenty-five years to create over two hundred instruments, each a crazy quilt of heavy, rough-sawn wood scraps joined with found objects. A rusty door hinge, a steak bone, a stack of dimes, springs, saw blades, pot lids, metal pipes, glass bottles, aerosol cans—Ed used anything he could to build a working guitar, fiddle, or dulcimer. On each instrument Ed inscribed “True Faith, True Light, Have Faith in God.”

True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley documents Ed Stilley’s life and work, giving us a glimpse into a singular life of austere devotion.

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The Victorian Eye
A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800-1910
Chris Otter
University of Chicago Press, 2008
During the nineteenth century, Britain became the first gaslit society, with electric lighting arriving in 1878. At the same time, the British government significantly expanded its power to observe and monitor its subjects. How did such enormous changes in the way people saw and were seen affect Victorian culture?
To answer that question, Chris Otter mounts an ambitious history of illumination and vision in Britain, drawing on extensive research into everything from the science of perception and lighting technologies to urban design and government administration. He explores how light facilitated such practices as safe transportation and private reading, as well as institutional efforts to collect knowledge. And he contends that, contrary to presumptions that illumination helped create a society controlled by intrusive surveillance, the new radiance often led to greater personal freedom and was integral to the development of modern liberal society.

The Victorian Eye’s innovative interdisciplinary approach—and generous illustrations­—will captivate a range of readers interested in the history of modern Britain, visual culture, technology, and urbanization.

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Von Balthasar & the Option for the Poor
Theodramatics in the Light of Liberation Theology
Todd Walatka
Catholic University of America Press, 2017
Hans Urs von Balthasar’s vast corpus of theological, philosophical, literary, and pastoral writings remains one of the most impressive achievements in 20th century thought. In light of liberation theology and now the papacy of Francis, however, a theological affirmation of the option for the poor remains dangerously weak in Balthasar’s corpus. Von Balthasar and the Option for the Poor offers a sympathetic reforming of Balthasar’s account of the drama of salvation – what he calls “theodramatics” – in response to this weakness.

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Waiting for the Light
Alicia Ostriker
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017
Winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award, poetry category

What is it like living today in the chaos of a city that is at once brutal and beautiful, heir to immigrant ancestors "who supposed their children's children would be rich and free?" What is it to live in the chaos of a world driven by "intolerable, unquenchable human desire?" How do we cope with all the wars? In the midst of the dark matter and dark energy of the universe, do we know what train we're on? In this cornucopia of a book, Ostriker finds herself immersed in phenomena ranging from a first snowfall in New York City to the Tibetan diaspora, asking questions that have no reply, writing poems in which "the arrow may be blown off course by storm and returned by miracle."

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Water and Light
A Diver's Journey to a Coral Reef
By Stephen Harrigan
University of Texas Press, 1999
This evocative account of the months Stephen Harrigan spent diving on the coral reefs off Grand Turk Island in the Caribbean was originally published by Houghton Mifflin in 1992.

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We Saw the Light
Conversations between New American Cinema and Poetry
Daniel Kane
University of Iowa Press, 2009
By the mid-1960s, New American poets and Underground filmmakers had established a vibrant community. Allen Ginsberg, John Ashbery, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Frank O’Hara joined Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie, and Andy Warhol to hang out, make films, read poems, fight censorship, end racism, and shut down the Vietnam War. Their personal, political, and artistic collaborations led them to rethink the moving picture and the lyric, resulting in an extraordinary profusion of poetry/film hybrids.

Drawing on unpublished correspondences and personal interviews with key figures in the innovative poetry and film communities, Daniel Kane’s stunningly erudite and accessible work not only provides a fresh look at avant-garde poetry and film but also encourages readers to rethink the artistic scenes of the 1960s and today. We Saw the Light will reframe the very way we talk about how film influences poetry and force us to think anew about the radical ways in which art is created and in turn influences subsequent work.

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The World Is Gone
Philosophy in Light of the Pandemic
Gregg Lambert
University of Minnesota Press
Exploring the existential implications of the Covid-19 crisis through meditations

Part personal memoir, part philosophical reflection and written in the midst of the pandemic in 2021, The World Is Gone employs the Robinson Crusoe fable to launch an existential investigation of the effects of extreme isolation, profound boredom, nightly insomnia, and the fear of madness associated with the loss of a world populated by others.

Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.


front cover of The Worst Thing of All Is the Light
The Worst Thing of All Is the Light
José Luis Serrano
Seagull Books, 2023
A metafictional novel about two intertwined stories of love that seek to perpetuate themselves in history.

The Worst Thing of All Is the Light tells two stories. First, that of the friendship of two heterosexual men, Koldo and Edorta, through the decades of the late twentieth century in Spain’s Basque Country. In the book Edorta writes in order to try and save from oblivion his relationship with Koldo—a bond for which the word “friendship” falls short yet for which he is too afraid to use the word “love.” It is the story of two men who are in love and don’t know it, or don’t want to know it. The second story is that of its author, José Luis Serrano, in the present day as he enjoys his summer holiday in the same Basque Country and talks with his husband at length about many different things, but mostly about how to narrate the relationship of Koldo and Edorta, two men who did not allow themselves to construct the domestic life that their counterparts enjoy today. Together these stories show a love that the lovers hope will outlive them, a love that is the same even if we give it different labels.

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