Six Facets Of Light

Six Facets Of Light

Summary

‘She’s a genius, I believe, because she lights up every subject she touches.’ Hilary Mantel

A Spectator Book of the Year

Goethe claimed to know what light was. Galileo and Einstein both confessed they didn’t. On the essential nature of light, and how it operates, the scientific jury is still out. There is still time, therefore, to listen to painters and poets on the subject. They, after all, spend their lives pursuing light and trying to tie it down.

Six Facets of Light is a series of meditations on this most elusive and alluring feature of human life. Set mostly on the Downs and coastline of East Sussex, the most luminous part of England, it interweaves a walker’s experiences of light in Nature with the observations, jottings and thoughts of a dozen writers and painters – and some scientists – who have wrestled to define and understand light. From Hopkins to Turner, Coleridge to Whitman, Fra Angelico to Newton, Ravilious to Dante, the mystery of light is teased out and pondered on. Some of the results are surprising.

By using mostly notebooks and sketchbooks, this book becomes a portrait of the transitoriness, randomness, swiftness, frustrations and quicksilver beauty that are the essence of light. It is a work to be enjoyed, pondered over, engaged with, provoked by; to be packed in the rucksack of every walker heading for the sea or the hills, or to be opened to bring that outside radiance within four dark town walls.

Reviews

  • She is a stylist with a wide-ranging and subtle mind. She’s a genius, I believe, because she lights up every subject she touches. Why [ is she] underrated? She is personally modest, and her work doesn’t fit into a category. She is too original for the market.
    Hilary Mantel

About the author

Ann Wroe

Ann Wroe is the Obituaries editor of The Economist, and has written its weekly obituary for almost two decades. She is the author of eight previous works of non-fiction, including biographies of Pontius Pilate (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award and the W.H. Smith Award), Perkin Warbeck, Shelley, Orpheus (winner of the Criticos Prize) and St Francis. She lives in Brighton and London.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more