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318 Leonardo Reviews parameter of our visual environment and to disclose the multilayeredness of light as process—a process that human and other actors both shape and are shaped by. The focus is on the urban landscape, yet not in an exclusive manner, since the progress of artificial light has also penetrated nonurban areas. This urban landscape is then studied in a global way, with examples borrowed from very different contexts, geographically as well as chronologically. Moreover, the book contains very illuminating and poetic notes on natural landscapes as well— a logical choice for an author who is a specialist in human geography and tourism. The chosen methodology is a mix of literature study and ethnographical fieldwork based on the author’s personal notebooks and personal research biography on the one hand and an extensive literature study on the other hand. The ethnographical approach is embedded in a broad, culturally informed phenomenological approach (hence the huge presence of someone like Tim Ingold in the opening chapter of the book), while the literature study testifies to an excellent knowledge of very different types of documents and research (there is a lot of room of the work by Wolfgang Schivelbusch and David Nye, for instance, both authors of classic studies on light and dark, but one finds also an in-depth discussion of policy documents, fieldwork reports and philosophical analyses—yes, the inevitable Jacques Rancière and his “distribution of the sensible,” this today’s shibboleth of the well-integrated scholar, is quoted various times. Finally, although this is not really made explicit in the book, Edensor is also working toward the framing of his material in the cultural studies context of Raymond Williams’s “structures of feeling,” which allows him not only to stress the historically and culturally changing interpretations of light and dark but also to examine the growing dissatisfaction with the ubiquity of light and the possible strategies of a rediscovery of darkness as a positive value. As this review makes clear, Tim Edensor’s book gives a welcome and very useful overview of what one might call “light studies.” The author brings together important material from a variegated set of disciplines, and his discussion of this material is always clear and well balanced. It comes therefore as a big surprise that throughout the whole book Edensor emphasizes the fact that light is a neglected phenomenon in our (scholarly ) experience of the real. This may be the case in the author’s own field (urban geography, tourism studies), but the claim is difficult to maintain in the broader field of the humanities, where light has for many years been a central concern of many researchers. I am thinking for instance of semiotics (the new French school of postGreimassian semiotics has produced wonderful studies on the importance of light for the reading of the landscape ; these “thymic” analyses, which foreground the positive or negative value of information and perception, are among the most robust scientific descriptions of the light and dark experience we have today) and also of literature and film studies, where one finds countless phenomenologically oriented interpretations of the embodied perception of visual stimuli). The wealth of information and sources gathered by Edensor is such that the repeated claim of the neglect of light and dark does not sound very convincing. Indeed, the wealth of sources and documents one finds in From Light to Dark is one of the great merits of the book. Another one would be the author’s fundamental honesty and the desire to respect as much as possible the ideas and intentions of the authors and artists (in the field of urban design) he is discussing. Edensor puts himself at the service of his sources, but he tends to do so at the expense of his own take on the material. True, the author extensively quotes form his own notebooks and experiences, which are always rich and interesting, but the reader might have expected a stronger personal vision, something that goes beyond the general claims on the cultural embedding of light, the relationship between light and power, and the increasing dissatisfaction with the vanishing of dark. The author is at his best when he...


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