Brilliant is more than an eloquent and gorgeous history of artificial light; it is a survey of profound experiences long lost to the human senses, imagination and heart. Brox reveals how light and darkness create intimacy and isolation, mark periods of rest, work and dreaming, and she demonstrates how light damages and divorces us from the natural world. All students of literature, history and art should read Brilliant; anyone interested in what it means to be human should read it, too.
Brox begins and ends her history in the dark caves of Lascaux where Ice Age people fashioned stone lamps and by these small lights painted the extraordinary horses, ibex, cats and other creatures that come alive, "out of darkness as you pass. Nothing stays still. Shadows nestle in the cavities; a flicker of light across a pale protruding rock turns a hoof or raises a head. One shape recedes as ...
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