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An Elemental Thing (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

The greatest essayist you've never heard of. Every Weinberger essay extends the arms of literature around the world, to ancient Chinese scholars to the poetic significance of the wind, he deftly rejuvenates the essay form to previously unexplored terrain. --Charlie

— From Charlie


Internationally acclaimed as one of the most innovative writers today, Eliot Weinberger has taken the essay into unexplored territories on the borders of poetry and narrative where the only rule, according to the author, is that all the information must be verifiable.

With An Elemental Thing, Weinberger turns from his celebrated political chronicles to the timelessness of the subjects of his literary essays. With the wisdom of a literary archaeologist-astronomer-anthropologist-zookeeper, he leads us through histories, fables, and meditations about the ten thousand things in the universe: the wind and the rhinoceros, Catholic saints and people named Chang, the Mandaeans on the Iran-Iraq border and the Kaluli in the mountains of New Guinea. Among the thirty-five essays included are a poetic biography of the prophet Muhammad, which was praised by the London Times for its "great beauty and grace," and "The Stars," a reverie on what's up there that has already been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Maori.

About the Author

Eliot Weinberger is an essayist, editor, and translator. He lives in New York City.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811216944
ISBN-10: 0811216942
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: May 17th, 2007
Language: English