8 September 2014

Wondrous strange

In Hamlet the appearance of the ghost of the dead king leads Horatio to say, “O day and night, but this is wondrous strange.” The unexpected he calls by both its names: wondrous and strange...Hamlet answers him with a remarkable line that picks up Horatio's phrase “wondrous strange.” He says, “And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.” The moment of wonder or the appearance of a stranger is the classic opportunity for fear. Yet just as hospitality makes the stranger welcome and testifies to the empirical experience that on the whole this has not proved disastrous, so too the experience of wonder welcomes the strange as a stranger is welcomed. 
from Wonder, the Rainbow and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences by Philip Fisher (1998)

Image: Brocken spectre with a glory. Σ64 via wikimedia

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