Mariana Alessandri, "Night Vision: Seeing Ourselves Through Dark Moods" (Princeton UP, 2023)


Under the light of ancient Western philosophies, our darker moods like grief, anguish, and depression can seem irrational. When viewed through the lens of modern psychology, they can even look like mental disorders. The self-help industry, determined to sell us the promise of a brighter future, can sometimes leave us feeling ashamed that we are not more grateful, happy, or optimistic. Night Vision: Seeing Ourselves Through Dark Moods (Princeton UP, 2023) invites us to consider a different approach to life, one in which we stop feeling bad about feeling bad.

In this powerful and disarmingly intimate book, Existentialist philosopher Mariana Alessandri draws on the stories of a diverse group of nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophers and writers to help us see that our suffering is a sign not that we are broken but that we are tender, perceptive, and intelligent. Thinkers such as Audre Lorde, María Lugones, Miguel de Unamuno, C. S. Lewis, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Søren Kierkegaard sat in their anger, sadness, and anxiety until their eyes adjusted to the dark. Alessandri explains how readers can cultivate "night vision" and discover new sides to their painful moods, such as wit and humor, closeness and warmth, and connection and clarity.

Night Vision shows how, when we learn to embrace the dark, we begin to see these moods--and ourselves--as honorable, dignified, and unmistakably human.

In this interview, we talk to Alessandri and the narrator of the audio book version of Night Vision, Gisela Chipe. Gisela Chípe, a multi-hyphenate Actor/Writer/Narrator/Producer worked as Producer on the anticipated series This Boy’s Vida by Joseph Castillo-Midyett, the award-winning Black?, Con Dios, and The Graduate Series (Co-writer). Film/TV Acting credits include: Good Burger 2, The Unholy, AWKWAFINA is Nora from Queens, FBI, SVU, and Manifest. Spanish: Wasp Network opposite Penélope Cruz, Bel Canto. Portuguese: The Olympic Games in Brazil. Gisela recently made her Broadway debut with the comedy POTUS… (d. Susan Stroman) Off-Broadway/Regional Theaters: Papermill, Actors Theatre, The Guthrie, & recently in Quixote Nuevo, opposite the late Emilio Delgado. Her audiobooks are numerous including Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, THE TALK, Night Vision, among others, with awards for narration of The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende, Velvet Was The Night, and The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Gisela creates greater visibility for black and brown stories. University of Delaware—PTTP (M.F.A.) Para mi Familia. @giselachipe @thisboysvida

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