Annie Dillard

Easton Press Annie Dillard books

For the Time Being - signed first edition - 1999
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - signed modern classic - 2000


Writer Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard, born on April 30, 1945, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an acclaimed American author, essayist, and poet known for her profound reflections on nature, spirituality, and the human experience. Dillard's unique and lyrical prose has earned her a reputation as a contemplative and insightful writer. Dillard's early passion for writing was evident in her childhood, and she pursued this interest academically. She attended Hollins College in Virginia, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English. Later, she went on to pursue a Master of Arts in English from the same institution.

In 1974, Dillard burst onto the literary scene with her debut work, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. The book, a nonfiction narrative that explores the natural world and the author's philosophical musings, won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1975. Dillard's ability to intertwine keen observations of the physical world with deeper existential questions showcased her distinctive voice and set the tone for her subsequent works. Dillard continued to explore themes of nature, spirituality, and the human condition in her subsequent books. Holy the Firm (1977) and Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982) further established her as a contemplative essayist. Her work often delves into the intersection of science, religion, and the awe-inspiring aspects of the natural world. In addition to her nonfiction works, Dillard has penned poetry and fiction. Her novel The Living (1992) and the essay collection For the Time Being (1999) demonstrate her versatility as a writer, showcasing her ability to engage with different forms and genres.

Living Like Weasels

Living Like Weasels is popular essay written by Annie Dillard. It was first published in 1974 in the collection Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1975. The essay explores the idea of living in harmony with nature and delves into a personal encounter Dillard had with a weasel. In Living Like Weasels, Dillard recounts a moment when she observed a wild weasel in the woods. The essay is an exploration of the wildness within nature and within ourselves. Dillard reflects on the single-mindedness and instinctual behavior of the weasel and contrasts it with the more complex and often contradictory lives of humans. The central theme revolves around the idea of living authentically and being true to one's nature. Dillard uses the weasel as a symbol of untamed wildness and a reminder of the primal instincts that exist within all living beings. The essay prompts readers to reconsider their own lives and the societal conventions that may distance them from a more instinctual, untamed existence. Living Like Weasels is celebrated for its poetic language, philosophical reflections, and the profound questions it raises about the human connection to the natural world. It remains one of Annie Dillard's most well-known and frequently anthologized essays.

Total Eclipse

Total Eclipse is an essay written by Annie Dillard, first published in 1982 in the book Teaching a Stone to Talk. In this essay, Dillard recounts her experience witnessing a total solar eclipse in the Yakima Valley in Washington State. The essay is a vivid and introspective exploration of the physical and emotional impact of the eclipse on both the natural world and the human observers. Dillard describes the lead-up to the eclipse, the moment of totality, and the aftermath. The narrative is rich with sensory details, philosophical reflections, and a sense of awe in the face of cosmic phenomena. Dillard uses the eclipse as a metaphorical lens through which she examines themes of perception, transcendence, and the search for meaning in the universe. The essay is known for its poetic language, deep introspection, and the way it weaves together personal experience with broader existential questions. Total Eclipse is often praised for its evocative prose and its ability to capture the profound and transformative nature of celestial events. It stands as one of Annie Dillard's notable contributions to the genre of creative nonfiction.

Annie Dillard's writing is characterized by its lyricism, attention to detail, and philosophical depth. Her exploration of the mystical and the ordinary has resonated with readers seeking a deeper understanding of existence. Dillard has been recognized with numerous awards and honors for her contributions to literature, including the New York Press Club Award for Outstanding Journalism and the New York Academy of Sciences Award. Annie Dillard remains an influential figure in American literature. Her works continue to be studied and admired for their literary craftsmanship and profound insights into the mysteries of the natural world and human existence.


For the Time Being

With her keen eye, penchant for paradox, and yearning for truth, Dillard renews our ability to discover wonder in life's smallest and often darkest corners.
Why do we exist? Where did we come from? How can one person matter? Dillard searches for answers in a powerful array of images: pictures of bird-headed dwarfs in the standard reference of human birth defects; ten thousand terra-cotta figures fashioned for a Chinese emperor in place of the human court that might have followed him into death; the paleontologist and theologian Teilhard de Chardin crossing the Gobi Desert; the dizzying variety of clouds. Vivid, eloquent, haunting, For the Time Being evokes no less than the terrifying grandeur of all that remains tantalizingly and troubling beyond our understanding.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

An exhilarating meditation on nature and its seasons a personal narrative highlighting one year's exploration on foot in the author's own neighborhood in Tinker Creek, Virginia. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays 'King of the Meadow' with a field of grasshoppers.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the story of a dramatic year in Virginia's Roanoke Valley. Annie Dillard sets out to see what she can see. What she sees are astonishing incidents of "beauty tangled in a rapture with violence."
Dillard's personal narrative highlights one year's exploration on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs. In the summer, she stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays King of the Meadow with a field of grasshoppers. The result is an exhilarating tale of nature and its seasons.


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