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The last of the light: about twilight (2015)

de Peter Davidson

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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.… (més)
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This was a very poetic book. By that I mean that it read somewhat like poetry, was very descriptive, and evocative of a time and mood. I read a review of this book back in the summer of 2018. The reviewer said that it was a cabinet of curiosities, paintings, poems, and music about European regret and how the setting of twilight is the symbol for all this. The author quotes from poets from Sappho and Virgil all the way to A. E. Houseman. He also analyzes paintings, photographs, and other works of art that are set in twilight. He also discusses music that is set in twilight.

The book was amply illustrated and full of quotations and insights that backed up the author's take on twilight as being a state of being as much as a state of daylight. The book was printed on high gloss heavy stock paper to allow for the inclusion of many works of art and chocked full of quotations from poems, essays, and memoirs where twilight played an important roll. The inclusion of these pictures was helpful as they helped to illustrate the setting and tone of the work. The paper gave this volume a heavier weight for the number of pages it had.

It was a very interesting in-depth study of the concept of twilight that was poetic and challenging to read. This is a work about symbolism and sense of time and place. Setting was everything in this book, and the critique of the art work used to illustrate the point the author made was a highlight. ( )
  benitastrnad | Dec 17, 2020 |
Twilight is that moment when the sun is below the horizon, but the light from our star is still illuminating the lower atmosphere. That moment between light and dark, the gloaming, has been split into three twilights by scientists, civil, nautical, and astronomical before either dawn or dusk. This moment as the world turns inexorably on has fascinated people for millennia and has provided inspiration for writers and artists to explore something that is not quite daytime and not yet night.

Watching through the windows the wastes of evening / The flare of foundries at the fall of the year

In this meticulously researched book, Davidson takes us through the twilight zone into the world of poetry and fine art that is the response to those beautiful sunsets. But is more than those moments, as he expands on the meaning behind the poems, critiques fine art portraits and contemplates foggy autumn days in photographs of a London past. With him, we will discover the extra depth to famous paintings, writers both well known and forgotten and some of the finest prose ever written on the melancholic events of dusk. It is printed on a fine glossy paper to ensure that the reproductions of the art are top notch. It is a book for all those that love the art of all forms and their responses to twilight and one to dip into again and again. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Great, academic in style, thoughts and feelings about twilight
1 vota MarilynKinnon | May 18, 2016 |
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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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