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Gallery of Clouds by Rachel Eisendrath

Gallery of Clouds

Best Seller
Gallery of Clouds by Rachel Eisendrath
Hardcover $19.95
May 11, 2021 | ISBN 9781681375434

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  • May 11, 2021 | ISBN 9781681375434

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  • May 11, 2021 | ISBN 9781681375441

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“From an early age, reading provided Eisendrath with solidity and engagement, a means of inhabiting her own mind ‘with a pose of sufficient complexity and suppleness that it felt real and also could whir along with a certain lightness.’ Her observations appear in episodic fashion, though her erudition and perceptiveness are no pose. She is a gifted stylist, finding surprise around every corner.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Rachel Eisendrath’s Gallery of Clouds reads like strings of improvised images in the margins of Sir Philip Sidney’s Elizabethan romance Arcadia. Or a diary at times inspired by her muse Virginia Woolf and elevated to an urban essay on the English Renaissance, European art, failed American pastoral dreamsand the dissonances of modernity. Eisendrath’s illuminating sketches—wise, changeable, compassionate—resemble Constable’s watercolor sky studies with transitory Turneresque bursts of sun between.” —Susan Howe

“‘What is this mysterious harmony that a lamp has with a book? It is as if the lamp knew and shared in the silence that lies at the heart of the book, beneath all the eager little words.’ So writes Rachel Eisendrath in this transporting marvel of a book, a wide-ranging demonstration of the art of making thought out of dreamy inquiry and reflection. An underground spring in the book—if such can be said of a gallery of clouds!—is a deft, unforgettable portrait of the child and the girl the author was who dwell so delightedly in her still, avid for insight and all the crucial refreshment that beauty, literature and art bring to life. I’ll be sharing Gallery of Clouds with lucky friends starting now and for the rest of my life.” —Alice Quinn

“Gallery of Clouds is a rare and singular achievement. An ecstatic meditation on Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, it is also a space—one concise and yet vast, precise and yet its effects are indeterminable—where subtle echoes between gestures in art and literature are revealed and attended to by an exceptional mind. Rachel Eisendrath is a close and astute reader who possesses great learning and vivid gifts, all of which she wears lightly. Her ideas are communicated with eloquent clarity and directness. Her authority is powered by doubt and a restless searching, one troubled by timeless questions concerning the meaning of things, the uncertainty of those meanings, and the fleeting and connected nature of life. Soon one realises that what is taking place here is a sort of an experiment in living and reading. With such acute lucidity and intellectual elegance, Eisendrath has mapped out an unlikely geography of feeling and ideas that culminates into a passion for the life of the mind and the life of books.” —Hisham Matar

“Eisendrath works partly to illuminate Sidney’s famous but rarely read 16th-century romance, and partly to examine what retrospection is and what it (and also literature) might be for. Her title speaks to the floating, mutable quality of thought. . . Clouds (like those painted on the ceiling of the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room, which also grace the cover of this book) bridge the gap between divine and daydream. . . . Reading becomes our temporary escape—our own arcadia. And, via its strangeness, we expand out of the selves we thought we knew. We find new inner coastlines.” —Tess Taylor, The Wall Street Journal

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