Jeffrey Carduner, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
You are going to love reading “Brightness—in the World & Our Thoughts”! You’ll find out about the turmoil in all of us—and in an immensely important writer, Shelley—between thoughts that are dark and other thoughts that are bright. You’ll meet Eli Siegel’s thrilling, deep comprehension of people, and of how the opposites in us are those of the world itself—and can truly go together, can be one! All this and more, in the magnificent new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is the conclusion of Poetry and Brightness, by Eli Siegel. In this remarkable, great lecture of 1949 one can see some of the richness and vital truth of the principle at the basis of Aesthetic Realism: “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.”
In the final section Mr. Siegel speaks about two people, one ever so famous, the other much less known today: the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), and the writer on nature Richard Jefferies (1848-87). Mr. Siegel speaks about the love and difficulty both had in relation to the big opposites this lecture is so deeply about: light and dark. He has discussed each of these writers elsewhere too; he spoke on Shelley—his poems and other writings—many, many times over the years, mightily and definitively.
The way Mr. Siegel looks at both writers here, stands for something always present in his understanding of a person—whether that person was of literature or history, or was in the room that very moment. I have marveled at the fact that his seeing of each person was so particular: what Mr. Siegel said or asked was grandly fair to the nuances, the very individual way of meeting life, the just-me-ness of that man, woman, child. And yet, so true and deep and wide was his seeing of the person that it also became, in the truest sense of the word, a classic: the way he wrote or spoke about an individual had meaning, explanatory meaning, for the life of everyone.
I’m writing about this now because Eli Siegel’s own seeing and expression had what, in this lecture, he describes brightness as being: clarity that is particular, is like a point, yet also radiates, goes out, is wide…. Read more