By Eliot Weinberger
The world over acclaimed as the most cutting edge writers this day, Eliot Weinberger has taken the essay into unexplored territories at the borders of poetry and narrative the place the one rule, based on the writer, is that each one the knowledge has to be verifiable.With An Elemental factor, Weinberger turns from his celebrated political chronicles to the timelessness of the themes of his literary essays. With the knowledge of a literary archaeologist-astronomer-anthropologist-zookeeper, he leads us via histories, fables, and meditations in regards to the 10000 issues within the universe: the wind and the rhinoceros, Catholic saints and folks named Chang, the Mandaeans at the Iran-Iraq border and the Kaluli within the mountains of recent Guinea. one of the thirty-five essays integrated are a poetic biography of the prophet Muhammad, which used to be praised via the London instances for its "great attractiveness and grace," and "The Stars," a reverie on what's up there that has already been translated into Arabic, chinese language, Hindi, and Maori.
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Extra info for An Elemental Thing
The physical act of writing in that journal became part of the writing of the novel, although few of the words from it can be found in the text of Water’s Edge itself. Now when I read the journal, I am again struck by prescience, by the way that as I travelled and wrote my journal entries, I seemed to strike something solid, something with its own body and mind. The omnipresent harshness of the Skye landscape brought me a realisation about what I had already written. A grisly catalogue appears in Water’s Edge: a collective of people in Serena’s family and ancestry who have died violent or unnatural deaths.
For a second, the smaller woman stands in front of her and strokes her face. Marian’s ﬁngers have the texture of water-smoothed rock. The voice sounds until Serena wears it, absorbs it along with the blue light, content to hear its resonance if she is not to understand the meaning of the words. Marian’s face, and her eyes that are indigo rather than black, slip away into the night. Serena, her feet on familiar rock, is as light as a swimmer in a blood-warm sea. (Perry 2001: 315-16) This passage, both in the act of writing it and in the ﬁnished narrative, was a kind of celebration, a reconciliatory moment for Serena but also for me.
It introduces the possibility of the visual argument and highlights the potential of the exegesis to do much more than explain, describe or even contextualise practice. Through his visual argument, Hockney enables us (as it enabled him) to look at, and think about paintings and drawings from a different perspective. It enables a shift in thought itself. Further, in the way Hockney sets out the problem, sets up his argument and garners evidence to demonstrate his proposition visually, he offers one way of thinking about the structure, methodologies and form that practice as research research may take.