Elysium: A Visual History of Angelology is a gloriously illustrated overview of angels across art, religion, and literature from scholar Ed Simon, writer for The Millions.
Ineffable, invisible, inscrutable—angels are enduring creatures across Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and human experiences of the divine as mediated by spiritual emissaries are an aspect of almost every religious tradition. In popular culture, angels are often reduced to the most gauzy, sentimental, and saccharine of images: fat babies with wings and guardians with robes, halos, and harps. By contrast, in scripture whenever one of the heavenly choirs appears before a prophet or patriarch, they first declare, “Fear not!” for terror would be the most appropriate initial reaction to these otherworldly beings. Angels are often not what we’d expect, but it’s precisely in that transcendent encounter that something of the strangeness of existence can be conveyed.
Elysium: A Visual History of Angelology is a follow-up volume to Pandemonium: A Visual History of Demonology, offering an account of the angelic hierarchies as they’ve been understood across centuries and cultures, and of the individual personages, such as the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel, who have marked the mythology of the West.
Includes Color Illustrations
About the Author
Ed Simon is a staff writer for The Millions, which the New York Times has called “the indispensable literary site.” A widely published and prolific freelance writer who holds a PhD in English from Lehigh University, his work has appeared in most major American literary and journalistic sites. He is also the author of several published books, including Furnace of This World: Or, 36 Observations about Goodness and Printed in Utopia: The Renaissance’s Radicalism, both released by Zero Books. In April of 2021, Belt Publishing will be releasing his short An Alternative History of Pittsburgh and Broadleaf Books will be releasing his coedited anthology The God Beat: What Journalism Says about Faith and Why it Matters in June of 2021. He lives in Washington, D.C.