You are here:

Vladimir Brljak (Long-Term Frances Yates Fellow): 'When did space turn dark?'

The universe is a vast sphere of everlasting daylight, and night, as experienced on earth, is merely a shadow cast by the planet with the sun behind it—‘the circling canopy’, as John Milton put it, ‘Of night’s extended shade’, beyond which there are only ‘happy climes that lie / Where day never shuts his eye’. Mounting evidence suggests that Milton was not an exception: that although not universal, bright space belief was common in European premodernity, and that widespread acceptance of dark space is a much more recent phenomenon than we might think. When did space turn dark? Has a major shift in the Western cosmological imagination managed to go largely undetected, and if so, what are its implications for literary history, art history, and cultural history at large? 

The Work in Progress seminar explores the variety of subjects studied and researched at the Warburg Institute. Papers are given by invited international scholars, research fellows studying at the Institute, and third-year PhD students.