Light Traces (Studies in Continental Thought)
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What is the effect of light as it measures the seasons? How does light leave different traces on the terrain―on a Pacific Island, in the Aegean Sea, high in the Alps, or in the forest? John Sallis considers the expansiveness of nature and the range of human vision in essays about the effect of light and luminosity on place. Sallis writes movingly of nature and the elements, employing an enormous range of philosophical, geographical, and historical knowledge. Paintings and drawings by Alejandro A. Vallega illuminate the text, accentuating the interaction between light and environment.
its contours of shading, color, and delineation come to be retraced. On the other hand, seeing is not mere recognition; it is not merely tagging the visible thing as something familiar, as a mere instance of something known beforehand with a knowledge to which the sight of this singular instance has little or nothing to contribute. Rather, genuine seeing requires a certain abstention from thoughts, opinions, preconceptions; it requires a sustained refusal to let the transition from sense to
contrast to an individualized, perhaps fabricated, in any case detached stone object. The more purely elemental an element is, the more absolutely singular it is. The most absolutely singular of the elements are earth and sky. The ship docked overnight at Makarska on the mainland coast and then on the second day sailed around the eastern tip of the island Hvar and on past the ancient city of Korčula. We were bound for Dubrovnik, where we would spend the second night. What caught our attention
disclosive manner; and thereby it clears the space within which things can be most sensibly encountered and elements such as earth and sky can be revealed in their gigantic expanse. The coming and going of natural light also gives the measure of time, coming to bestow the day, retreating to give way to night. Light also measures out the seasons, not only by its intensity as the sun appears higher or lower in the sky, but also by variations that are not readily expressible in traditional
to circulate between the visibly present ruins and an image of the ancient structure, hovering between these, letting each inform the other. But it is in face of the ruins of the temple itself that imagination is sustained and hence soars. These ruins are extensive enough and sufficiently well preserved that from them alone many features of the temple are evident. The columns display its Doric order, and their configuration indicates that the temple was peripteral. The majority of the columns
chamber of the temple, though today no trace of it remains. For the ancients such sculpted figures were not mere representations of the gods, not mere copies or images showing how the gods looked, displaying their appearance, compensating thereby for the incapacity of humans for actually beholding the all too elusive gods. Rather, the sculpted figure served for enacting the placement of the god in the temple, his being offered the temple as a place where he was invited to enter and where, now and