Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Star Thrower (1). Loren Eiseley.

New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1978.

Why read it? Eiseley’s sentences and essays haunt the reader. You can’t let them go, dismiss them. They remain in your mind, hooked there by ideas and images. The lead story in this collection of his essays, “The Star Thrower,” projects the image of a lonely man walking the beach at dawn, picking up stranded starfish and flinging them back into the ocean so they can resume living. What does that image suggest to you?

Sample Quotes and Ideas:

“…those who have retained a true taste for the marvelous and who are capable of discerning in the flow of ordinary events the point at which the mundane world gives way to quite another dimension.” p. 28. ……….

“There is nothing more alone in the universe than man.” p. 37. ……….

“…man is so locked in his own type of intelligence—an intelligence that is linked to a prehensile, grasping hand giving him power over his environment….” p. 38.

“Man without writing cannot long retain his history in his head.” p. 41. ……….

“Man’s greatest epic, his four long battles with the advancing ice of the great continental glaciers, has vanished from human memory without a trace.” p. 41. ……….

“Only the poet who writes speaks his message across the millennia to other hearts.” p. 41.

“[Man] …is himself a consuming fire.” p. 45. ……….

“Homo duplex must learn that knowledge without greatness of spirit is not enough…or there will remain only his calcined cities and the little charcoal of his bones.” p. 52. ……….

“As adults we are preoccupied with living. As a consequence, we see little.” p. 54.

“I was a man trapped in the despair once alluded to as the utterly hopeless fear confined to moderns—that no miracles can ever happen.” p. 55. ……….

“The only thing that characterizes a miracle, to my mind, is its sudden appearance and disappearance within the natural order, although, strangely, this loose definition would include each individual person.” p. 57. ……….

After encountering a fox that invited him to play: “…but, as Thoreau once remarked of some peculiar errand of his own, there is no use reporting it to the Royal Society.” p. 65.

To be continued.

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