> Skip to content
  • Published: 5 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241987308
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

Experiments on Reality




Astonishing explorations of the self and the natural world from a prose master

Long recognized as perhaps the greatest non-fiction writer at work in Ireland, for his vast, polymathic accounts of nature and culture in the Aran Islands and Connemara, Tim Robinson is also an essayist of genius whose fascinations range across the globe. In Experiments on Reality, he shines the light of his intelligence on his own life, and on some of the most fascinating questions in science and culture.

Robinson brings us to his boyhood in Yorkshire, National Service in Malaya in the 1950s, and his years as a visual artist in Istanbul, Vienna and London. He revisits some of the scenes of his researches for the maps he made of Aran and Connemara, places that continue to throw up remarkable stories and puzzles. And he performs astonishing literary thought-experiments, playing with the boundaries of the essay form, scientific inquiry, and storytelling. Experiments on Reality is a masterpiece from one of the great minds of our time.

  • Published: 5 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241987308
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

Also by Tim Robinson

See all

Praise for Experiments on Reality

Simply one of the best non-fiction prose writers currently at work

Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times

Robinson is a stylist of exceptional cadence, tact and ingenuity

Daily Telegraph

One of contemporary Ireland's finest literary stylists

Joseph O'Connor, Guardian

Many landscape writers have striven to give their prose the characteristics of the terrain they are describing. Few have succeeded as fully as Robinson

Robert Macfarlane, Guardian

Dazzling

Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller

He is that rarest of phenomena, a scientist and an artist, and his method is to combine scientific rigour with artistic reverie in a seamless blend that both informs and delights

John Banville, Guardian

Tim Robinson is the Proust of the western seaboard, a Ruskin of the isles

New Stateman

He knows this world as no one else does, and writes about it with awe and love, but also with measured grace, an artist's eye and a scientist's sensibility

Colm Tóibín, Sunday Business Post

Breathtaking ... the West of Ireland has found its ultimate laureate

Patricia Craig, TLS

In this slim volume of essays, typically lyrical and measured, Robinson burgles the bank of his youth in Wharfedale and later years, including National Service in Malaysia and his time as an artist in Istanbul, Vienna and London, to map out the topography of his own thoughts and travels.

RTÉ Guide

One of the greatest of all landscape writers ... When the material world is brought forth for us so beautifully, with such rapt attention and illuminating insight, we are reminded of how lucky we are to be part of it

Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times

Experiments on Reality offers another side to Robinson. The abstract and algebraic thinking of his early years as both a mathematician and artist bubble back to the surface and meld with the mossy scents of Connacht and the reflections of age

Sunday Independent

The Proust & Ruskin of modern place-writing, deep-mapper of Irish landscapes, visionary thinker, & human of exceptional intellectual generosity & kindness. He was an immense inspiration to & encourager of me & my work.

Robert Macfarlane

Related titles