Black Paper. Writing in a Dark Time (Berlin Family Lectures). Text by Teju Cole.

Black Paper.

Writing in a Dark Time (Berlin Family Lectures).

Text by Teju Cole.
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 2021. In English. 288 pp., 5½x8½".

Publisher's Description

A new collection from the celebrated Nigerian-American writer and photographer Teju Cole. The title comes from the carbon copy process--from the way that black transports meaning as carbon paper presses on a white sheet below. For Cole, we are living, clearly, in a time of darkness, but in that darkness we're never alone, nor should we ever despair. All the essays here--whether about art, politics, travel, or memoir--deal in one way or other with the need to witness--to witness the humanity that lingers in shadows, literal or figurative. In the long opening essay, Cole travels to southern Italy and Sicily to view a series of Caravaggio paintings. Caravaggio was, in Cole's words, 'a murderer, a slaveholder, a terror, and a pest.' Cole ponders the suffering that Caravaggio both dealt out and experienced, and the echoes of that suffering in the abandoned boats of migrants arriving on Sicily's nearby shores. The book then proceeds with a suite of elegies to lost friends that show us ways of mourning in times of death. The next part gathers 10 essays on artists and photographers, including Kerry James Marshall and Lorna Simpson. The fourth part presents Cole's consideration of the senses, specifically as they relate to experience, epiphany, and ethics. The fifth and closing part gathers essays on the theme of living in dark times. Throughout, the book alternates between fully developed essays and others that take the form of a collage of fragments. All told, there are 26 essays here, 6 of them previously unpublished.

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