The Vast Extent

Lavinia Greenlaw


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Faber & Faber
4 January 2024
ISBN: 9780571355631
320 pages

From the publisher

From the celebrated poet, novelist and memoirist, The Vast Extent is an ingenious constellation of "exploded essays" about light and image, seeing and the unseen. Each is a record of how thought builds and ideas emerge, aligning art, myth, strange voyages, scientific scrutiny and a poet's response so that they cast light upon each other.

Ranging across caves, seasickness, early photography, boredom, wonder, mountains, mice, the body and its shadow, from the Arctic at midwinter to a shingle spit in Norfolk at midsummer, Lavinia Greenlaw invites us to travel such questions as how we might describe what we have never seen before or what helps us to see more clearly or persuades us to see what's not there. Art, science, vision and memory inform one another in this original and illuminating work.

'Greenlaw's prose has a sharp honesty and she wields her erudition lightly.' Sunday Times