Monday, December 5, 2011

Beauty laid bare



“Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our heats? Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms? Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?”

I was re-reading Annie Dillard's The Writing Life and came upon this passage. Dillard states that when we read we are searching for "beauty laid bare." When I first read it, I wasn't quite sure what to make of the phrase. Does she mean beauty that is obvious, or beauty that is stripped of any excess? I'm still not quite sure what the phrase precisely means, but I feel like in the passage Dillard is trying to express something we have discussed in class frequently: beauty can express some truth to us that we cannot merely state, but need to experience through art.

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