What is it like to experience rapture? For philosopher Christopher Hamilton, it is a loss of self that is also a return to self--an overflowing and emptying out of the self that also nourishes and fills the self. In this inviting book, he reflects on the nature of rapture and its crucial yet unacknowledged place in our lives.

Hamilton explores moments of rapture in everyday existence and aesthetic experience, tracing its disruptive power and illuminating its philosophical significance. Rapture is found in sexual love and other forms of intense physical experience, such as Philippe Petit's nerve-defying wire walk between the Twin Towers. Hamilton also locates it in quieter but equally joyous moments, such as contemplating a work of art or the natural world. He considers a range of examples in philosophy and culture--Nietzsche and Weil, Woolf and Chekhov, the extremes of experience in Werner Herzog's films--as well as aspects of ordinary life, from illness to gardening. Conversational and evocative, this book calls on us to ask how we might make ourselves more open to experiences of rapturous joy and freedom.

Publication Date: 
April 16, 2024