In BRILLIANT, award-winning author Jane Brox offers a sweeping history of our transformative relationship with light—from the stone lamps of the Pleistocene to LEDs embedded in fabrics of the future—and reveals that the surprising, complex story of our illumination is also the story of our modern selves.

Just five hundred years ago almost everyone lived at the mercy of the dark, yet today so much of life as we know it—our long evening hours, our flexible working days, our feelings of safety at night—depends upon cheap, abundant light. Brox not only examines the social and environmental implications of this remarkable transformation, she tells a compelling story imbued with human voices, startling insights, and timely questions about how the light of the future will shape our lives.


Jane Brox is the author of three other books: CLEARING LAND: LEGACIES OF THE AMERICAN FARM; FIVE THOUSAND DAYS LIKE THIS ONE, which was a 1999 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and HERE AND NOWHERE ELSE, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has received the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She has been awarded grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Maine Arts Commission. Jane Brox has taught at Harvard University and Bowdoin College and is currently on the nonfiction faculty of Lesley University’s low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. She lives in Brunswick, Maine.