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Jack Albert Nusenow

An Autumn Effect

Deliberately, but delicately, Stevenson describes everyday sensory experiences like innocuous perception and the passing of time (in Autumn Effect. Vivid imagery becomes more effective and emotional as the expectation for plot driven events in his writing dwindle.

As the writer walks from place to place, we forget to expect what comes next, and instead learn to appreciate his ekphasis (in this work, the art described would be nature itself — the red leaves, touched with yellow specks, hills hooded with beech plantation) just as he is appreciating it in the moment.

The value in Stevenson’s work comes not from the events he explains but in the world he builds around you. As you sink into his words, as he intends, you find yourself walking with him, lacking only the sensory experience. An Autumn Effect is not only a practice in imagery but also a convincing rhetorical push to travel, and if not travel, just walk.

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