Stone maps the strength, vivacity, and tales inside of our such a lot mundane subject, stone. For too lengthy stone has served as an unexamined metaphor for the “really real”: blunt factuality, nature’s curt rebuke. but, medieval writers knew that stones drop with hearth from the sky, emerge throughout the subterranean lovemaking of the weather, tumble alongside riverbeds from Eden, associate with the masons who construct worlds with them. Such movement indicates an ecological enmeshment and a virtually creaturely mineral life.
Although geological time can depart us reeling, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen argues that stone’s persistence is additionally a call for participation to recognize the area in except human phrases. by no means actually inert, stone poses a profound problem to modernity’s disenchantments. Its corporation undermines the human wish to be break free the surroundings, a bifurcation that renders nature “out there,” an insignificant source for activity, intake, and exploitation.
Written with nice verve and magnificence, this pioneering paintings is impressive not just for interweaving the medieval and the fashionable but in addition as an incredible contribution to ecotheory. Comprising chapters geared up by way of proposal —“Geophilia,” “Time,” “Force,” and “Soul”—Cohen seamlessly brings jointly quite a lot of issues together with stone’s power to move people into nonanthropocentric scales of position and time, the “petrification” of convinced cultures, the messages fossils endure, the structure of Bordeaux and Montparnasse, Yucca Mountain and nuclear waste disposal, the power of stone to speak throughout millennia in constructions like Stonehenge, and debates over even if stones reproduce and feature souls.
Showing that what's frequently assumed to be the main useless of drugs is, in its personal time, stressed and eternally in movement, Stone fittingly concludes through taking us to Iceland⎯a land that, writes the writer, “reminds us that stone like water is alive, that stone like water is transient.”