Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Space swelled ..."

"The sense of space, and in the end, the sense of time, were both powerfully affected. Buildings, landscapes, &c. were exhibited in proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to receive. Space swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity. This, however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night; nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human experience."

-- Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (Oxford, p. 68).

Maybe the effect is lost on a small video screen; but Colossal Youth (a beautiful English title) really does feel monumental. I just read De Quincey's classic recently; when I came to this passage, I thought, "bingo."

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