As iron filings configure themselves around a magnet, so these essays display Eva Brann’s form of oppositional, or polar, thinking.
To introduce her book, Eva Brann calls up the image of Iron Filings as they "settle themselves along the lines of force that form a field of influence around a bar magnet that has itself been allowed to settle itself in its natural direction. The whole configuration makes, by nature’s wit, a suggestive figure for the thinking mind—at least of a cross-section in its life." So these essays range from Ms. Brann’s thoughts "Of God," "Of Novels," "Of Booklessness," to, well, a surprising diversity of topics which comes, unsurprisingly to completion with an essay "Of Endings." Eva Brann thinks a thought and then thinks a thought somewhat on the other side of the first thought—hence the display of thought like iron filings around two ends of a magnet.
Eva Brann is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Her other books include How to Constitute a World, Doublethink / Doubletalk, Then & Now, Un-Willing, The Logos of Heraclitus, Feeling Our Feelings, Homage to Americans, Open Secrets / Inward Prospects, The Music of the Republic, and Homeric Moments (all published by Paul Dry Books).