|On Not Knowing
|129 x 198 mm
A beautifully written suite of personal essays on the value of not knowing
Moments of clarity are rare and fleeting; how can we become comfortable outside of them, in the more general condition of uncertainty within which we make our lives? Written by critic Emily Ogden while her children were small, On Not Knowing forays into this rich, ambivalent space. Each of her sharply observed essays invites the reader to think with her about questions she can’t set aside: not knowing how to give birth, to listen, to hold it together, to love.
Unapologetically capacious in her range of reference and idiosyncratic in the canon she draws on, Ogden moves nimbly among the registers of experience, from the operation of a breast pump to the art of herding cattle; from one-night stands to the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Committed to the accumulation of knowledge, Ogden nonetheless fi nds that knowingness for her can be a way of getting stuck, a way of not really living. Rather than the defensiveness of wilful ignorance, On Not Knowing celebrates the defencelessness of not knowing yet – which, Ogden suggests, may be a form of love.
‘Ogden’s essays are remarkable for their subtle and ingenious curiosity. Her willingness to be at once candid, lucid, and utterly intriguing – in a language lyrical and exact – makes these essays irresistibly compelling. The vision and revision that is her writing renews the essay as a vital form.’ Adam Phillips