The University of Wisconsin Press | Fall 2013 - page 38

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“And I have felt / A presence that disturbs me with the joy / Of elevated
thoughts; a sense sublime.”
—William Wordsworth
A Sense Sublime
is a record of a life lived during the last years of the twentieth
century on the northern edge of the tallgrass prairies of Illinois, where seas of
flowing grasses give way to the glaciated hills of Wisconsin.
With camera in hand, Richard Quinney walked the streets and byways of
towns and traveled the country roads. Quinney watched through his viewfinder
the rising and passing of all things, giving attention to the wonder of daily exis-
tence. He captures the transcendental landscape; land and sky powerfully meld
into one. The black and white of shadow on snow explores the light and darkness
we know and experience in human existence. Gothic images of weathered homes
and barns of long-gone settlers and shaded cemeteries still haunt the landscape,
while romantic vistas of clouds majestically drifting over magnificent prairies
instill an agrarian sublimity akin to Wordsworth or Thoreau. The photographs,
from the end of a century, document the passing of the seasons and the years.
Quinney’s photographs are historical artifacts, framed of portions of the world
within his spiritual eye, the camera’s viewfinder. The photos, accompanied with
notes from Quinney’s journals, as well as the words of others, are extensions of
the long tradition of transcendental writers, romantic poets, and landscape paint-
ers. They are Quinney’s own attempt to solve the mystery of human existence and
a way to experience the sublime in everyday life. Through his viewfinder, Quin-
ney perceived and created nature. The spiritual eye beheld the landscape with a
sense of the sublime.
Richard Quinney
is the author of several books of autobiographical writing,
Journey to a Far Place
For the Time Being
Once Again the
Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing
Tales from the Middle Border
A Lifetime
Once Upon an Island
A Farm in Wisconsin
, and
Ox Herding in Wiscon-
. His retrospective book of photographs,
Things Once Seen
, received the August
Derleth Award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers. He lives in Madison,
 LC: 2013900109
196 PP. 6 ⁵ ⁄ ₈ × 8 ¼ 60 B/W PHOTOS
Distributed for Borderland Books
Of re l at ed int e re s t
Roy Chapman Andrews
“Andrews’s pioneering explorations in
Mongolia greatly advanced science and
archaeology; his life and adventures
there, which Indiana Jones would envy,
make this a welcome reissue of a thrilling
read.”—Peter Skinner,
LC: 2008928321 280 PP. 5
× 8 ½
Distributed for Borderland Books
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