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Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight Hardcover – March 15, 2011
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
"One would be hard-pressed to find a better tour guide than English writer James Attlee. On his global quest for moonlight, he has a gentle sense of humor and an even temper when clouds and rain botch his well-laid plans. Best of all, he is perpetually illuminating about what the moon has meant to humans through the centuries."
(Jan Gardner Boston Globe)
"A stellar appreciation for the myriad quantifiable and amorphous attributes that have made the moon a source of magic and wonder through the ages."
"Nocturne is an enchanting moonlit sojourn born of wisdom and celestial wonder."
(A. Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past)
"Nocturne is a charming book, filled with hundreds and thousands of facts and stories about the moon, not one of which we really need to know but nearly all of which are fascinating. As a result we close the book enriched, with a pocket full of change we can spend wherever we want."
(Dave Hickey, author of The Invisible Dragon: Seven Essays on Beauty)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
These accounts are interspersed with examinations (in which he displays an immense amount of knowledge) of the moon in all its cultural manifestations: in everyday life, myth and superstition (Mussolini, it appears, was afraid of moonlight), in astronomy, in lunar exploration and the junk it leaves behind, in literature and art (with a fine long passage about the art of Samuel Palmer), in the attempts by music to capture it. He discusses the role of the lunar months, the effect of the moon on the tides and possibly on the menstrual cycle, its association with the Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception, the role it plays in Islam (there is a delightful story from one of the hadiths) and in the Romantic imagination, especially in Germany (archetypally in the paintings by Caspar David Friedrich. He discusses several painters of moonlight - but Munch is missing). He dives into optical science, explaining the physical difference between day vision and night vision (moonlight "triggers real physiological changes in our bodies"), and talks about the Lunar Society, so called because its members met on a Monday nearest the full moon each month so that the moon could light their way home. But there is only a passing reference to its association with madness and the word lunatic does not appear at all.Read more ›