Annie Dillard Annie Dillard was born in in Pennsylvania. She is a much-celebrated poet, novelist and essayist and author of thirteen books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal for her work deepening the understanding of the human experience. Dillard later said the book took 14 months to write, full-time, which works out to something like 25 words a day. In These Collections.
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Pseudo-Dionysius, for example, proposes an ontological order of goods based on his notion of hierarchy. Such an idealized stance is impossible to uphold in its purity, for it denies the essential needs of human survival. Maintaining complete indifference to the things of this world can only lead to death.
Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard, Reading for Enjoyment ARJ2 Review by Bobby Matherne
When the time of his necessity comes, the purse is opened and then shut again, in most seemly fashion. And it is God who does this, as it is shown when he says that he comes 1 See Matt ; 2 Cor ; Phil , ; Rev For he does not despise what he has made, nor does he disdain to serve us in the simplest natural functions of our body.
To eminence, to the mind, Christ touches only the top, skims off only the top, as it were, the souls of men. Our bodies are bound to this corporeal universe. Specifically, I focus on the way Dillard transmits a unique and compelling conception of materiality through recurring poetic imagery. This journey moves from the Incarnation of all worldly things as amazing,15 to the Crucified emptiness of maddening human suffering and failed human love,16 to a Resurrected, mystical contemplatio of the lofty and unexpected presence of God that permeates both.
There is only a little violence here and there in the language, at the corner where eternity clips time. Mediums are the material bodies through which immaterial thoughts are transmitted; they serve as a meeting-place for all information. Dillard capitalizes on the possibilities of written word in her formal naming of each chapter.
'Holy the Firm'
This practice brings the novella cohesion and grants the reader insight into its overarching themes. Dillard also recognizes the inherent limitations of writing, but stretches the medium to the fullest extent by creating a matrix of poetic images that the reader can follow through each chapter. Yet under the web are sixteen or so corpses 17 Dillard, This form of narration corresponds directly to the structure of the novella itself, which chronicles three days November 18 th to 20th.
And you can get caught holding one end of a love, when your father drops, and your mother; when a land is lost, or a time, and your friend blotted out, gone, your brother's body spoiled, and cold, your infant dead, and you dying: you reel out love's long line alone, stripped like a live wire loosing its sparks to a cloud, like a live wire loosed in space to longing and grief everlasting.
What meaning can we give the title, Holy the Firm? We get hints in the question which this next passage builds up to, and the eponymous Part Three strives to answer. For I know it as given that God is all good. And I take it also as given that whatever he touches has meaning, if only in his mysterious terms, the which I readily grant. The question is, then, whether God touches anything. Is anything firm, or is time on the loose?
Holy the Firm
Holy the Firm , she asks if that is the primary substance beneath all other substances, a holy foundation stone, which supports all the metals and minerals that fill us during our earthly existence, which underlies the salts, which as newborns we are connected with, which underlies the elements in God's tooth. And it is.
Thought advances, and the world creates itself, by the gradual positing of, and belief in, a series of bright ideas. Time and space are in touch with the Absolute at base. Eternity sockets twice into time and space curves, bound and bound by idea. Matter and spirit are of a piece but distinguishable. God has a stake guaranteed in all the world. And the universe is real and not a dream, not a manufacture of the senses; subject may know object, knowledge may proceed, and Holy the Firm, is in short the philosopher's stone.