I love lighthouses, although I’m not sure why is something I could place my finger on but I find something ‘otherworldly’ about them, representing the edge of our world, standing alert where two worlds meet. On hearing that Reaktion Books have published Where Light in Darkness Lies The Story of the Lighthouse by Veronica della Dora, a beautiful, insightful and fascinating book about lighthouses, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Where Light in Darkness Lies The Story of the Lighthouse is by no means a simple history of the lighthouse, here Veronica della Dora takes us through to antiquity and the earliest lighthouses, originally temples, through to their earliest incarnations as beacons warning seafarers, through their repurposing in more modern times.
Aside from my own fascination with these sole sentinels we are guided through how these buildings have not just been utilised for safety purposes, but also the focus of art, literature and cinema, and their place highlighting holiday destinations for modern vacationers. However, Where Light in Darkness Lies also tells a different story that reflects our own status as human beings on this planet, standing on the edge of our landscapes. They represent, in many respects, not just beacons of light and safety, they are beacons of our own past and our imaginations.
In modern times lighthouses have been a part of our scientific progress in areas such as radio and GPS technology, and more recently repurposed into hotels, museums and a variety of other purposes. Although lighthouses’ original purpose may not be as necessary to our modern world they still retain a very much cherished part of our landscape, which stands as a testament not just to their purpose, but also to their design that they have now become integral to many areas around the world. Where Light in Darkness Lies is meticulously researched and engaging to read, and a must for any lover of the lighthouse and their place in our world.
A beautiful book and a truly befitting testament to these magnificent structures, and a must read for anyone with a fascination with how man and technology have grown amicably together over aeons.
- Where Light in Darkness Lies The Story of the Lighthouse by Veronica della Dora is published by Reaktion Books (£25.00). To order a copy go to www.reaktionbooks.co.uk
Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently researching folklore and early Welsh Christianity and curator of the archives of the lost village of Pontyddim.