Total Eclipse Of The Hype: Writers Writing About Past Eclipse Experiences

by @thewritermama on August 19, 2017

Beyond all of the hype and product-hawking around the eclipse of 2017, I find the words of writers who have witnessed eclipses in the past to be deeply comforting.

If you are feeling similarly distracted by all the media drama about the total eclipse, consider taking a trip back to simpler times by reading these eclipse accounts by famous wordsmiths.

If anyone knows of other accounts, let me know, and I will add them.

Perhaps these writings will prompt you to write down your own experience of the eclipse of 2017. I hope so!

Total Eclipse by Annie Dillard

What you see in an eclipse is entirely different from what you know. It is especially different for those of us whose grasp of astronomy is so frail that, given a flashlight, a grapefruit, two oranges, and fifteen years, we still could not figure out which way to set the clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Usually it is a bit of a trick to keep your knowledge from blinding you. But during an eclipse it is easy. What you see is much more convincing than any wild-eyed theory you may know.

The Eclipse by James Fenimore Cooper

At twelve minutes past eleven, the moon stood revealed in its greatest distinctness — a vast black orb, so nearly obscuring the sun that the face of the great luminary was entirely and absolutely darkened, though a corona of rays of light appeared beyond. The gloom of night was upon us. A breathless intensity of interest was felt by all. There would appear to be something instinctive in the feeling with which man gazes at all phenomena in the heavens. The peaceful rainbow, the heavy clouds of a great storm, the vivid flash of electricity, the falling meteor, the beautiful lights of the aurora borealis, fickle as the play of fancy, — these never fail to fix the attention with something of a peculiar feeling, different in character from that with which we observe any spectacle on the earth.

Excerpt from The Shorter Diary Of Virginia Woolf

But now the colour was going out. The clouds were turning pale; a reddish black colour. Down in the valley it was an extraordinary scrumble of red and black; there was the one light burning; all was cloud down there, and very beautiful, so delicately tinted. The 24 seconds were passing. Then one looked back again at the blue: and rapidly, very very quickly, all the colours faded; it became darker and darker as at the beginning of a violent storm; the light sank and sank; we kept saying this is the shadow; and we thought now it is over – this is one shadow; when suddenly the light went out. We had fallen. It was extinct. There was no colour. The earth was dead.


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~ Photo by vancarlosfr




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