Terry Tempest Williams Leap

ISBN 13: 9780679432920

Leap

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Seized by the beauty and mystery of Hieronymus Bosch's fifteenth-century Flemish masterpiece, The Garden of Delights, Terry Tempest Williams focuses her astute gaze on his medieval triptych as she would on a natural landscape. With spiritual candor, psychological immediacy, and exhilarating emotional intensity, she carries us into the world of Bosch's painting, uncovering the connections between his vision, the world it mirrors, and contemporary life.

Approaching Paradise, Williams re-enters the terrain of childhood, where the foundations of orthodoxy are built; Hell, in all its diabolical madness, allows her to reflect on the inherent dislocations of our lives; in The Garden, moving away from the dualities of Heaven and Hell, she sees personal engagement as its own form of prayer and celebrates the possibility of a living faith right here on earth. And in Restoration, we meet two sisters, art conservators, who reveal their understanding of artistic vision.

Leap is an unexpected pilgrimage through the landscape of a painting that continues to startle five hundred years after its creation. It is also an utterly original account of one woman's search for the place where faith, passion, and creativity converge. Finally, Leap captures the alchemical moment of imagination -- the flight from the real to the poetic.

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Review:

The wonders of biology meet the mysteries of Mormonism in Terry Tempest Williams's spiritual evocation of Hieronymus Bosch's El Jardin de las Delicias. Williams is mesmerized by the painting, and there is much to be fascinated by, including her own stream-of-consciousness exploration of its images and symbolism.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, as it's known in English, is part of a triptych, surrounded by wings of paradise and hell. Williams visits the painting daily in the Prado Museum in Madrid, reveling in the gestalt and concentrating on the nuances in the elaborate and extraordinarily detailed masterpiece. One day she'll devote hours inspecting the cavorting, joyous figures, "the blue pool of bathers standing thigh-high in the middle of the triptych," the cherries "flying in the air, dangling from the poles, dropped into the mouths of lovers." Another day she's there with binoculars, cataloguing the birds Bosch chose to place in the garden of earthly delights (she finds 35 of them, including the gadwall, the wagtail, the great white egret, and Tengmalm's owl--a bird who sings "poo-poo-poo," which she considers a bit of prime Bosch paradise humor). Her insight, however, is not limited to the painting. She looks inward and outward, her probing artistic analysis inspiring childhood memories, worldly observations, and universal questions about love and faith.

Williams's leap into Bosch's garden is an unusual blend of academic rigor and unfettered artistic license, studying the painter's world with erudite discipline, then soaring into lyric associations that'll charm your poetic soul or curdle your objective sensibilities, depending on the latitude you grant in works that mix art history with personal memoir and spiritual exploration. --Stephanie Gold

From the Back Cover:

"In this lyrical, wise, and questioning book, Terry Tempest Williams leads us in and out of the double-sided looking glass that is Bosch's Garden of Delights and of the heavens and hells of our own natural world. An innovative hybrid, woven of lived experience, visionary thinking, and critical intelligence, Leap points the way to new spiritual dimensions buried in art,'nature,' and our own lives."
-- Lucy Lippard, author of Overlay and The Lure of the Local

"Confession: I sat down, opened the book in the middle of it and of a busy day. An hour later I got up from my chair. Page after page of discovery. What a marvelous manner of handling the interlaced themes of flesh and soul. The beauty of Terry Tempest Williams's writing, her feeling, her devotion. Leap took me into the heart of Importance."
-- James Hillman, author of The Soul's Code

"Leap does what we hope literature can do -- rinse the reader's gaze, refreshing our sight and making the world new again."
-- Mark Doty, author of My Alexandria

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9780679752578: Leap

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ISBN 10:  0679752579 ISBN 13:  9780679752578
Publisher: Vintage, 2000
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