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Notes on Blindness

A Journey Through the Dark

John M. Hull


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Days before the birth of his first son, writer and academic John M. Hull started to go blind. He would lose his sight entirely, plunged into darkness, unable to distinguish any sense of light or shadow. Isolated and claustrophobic, he sank into a deep depression. Soon, he had forgotten what his wife and daughter looked like.

In Notes on Blindness, John reveals his profound sense of loss, his altered perceptions of time and space, of waking and sleeping, love and companionship. With astonishing lucidity of thought and no self-pity, he describes the horror of being faceless, and asks what it truly means to be a husband and father. And eventually, he finds a new way of experiencing the world, of seeing the light despite the darkness.

Based on John's diaries recorded on audio tape, this is a profoundly moving, wise and life-affirming account of one man's journey into blindness.

Praise for Notes on Blindness

“A masterpiece…The incisiveness of observation, the beauty of his language, make this book poetry”
Oliver Sacks
“There is wisdom on every page… a gift to the whole of humanity”
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of 'The Last Act of Love'
“This is a courageous book about the ability of the human mind and soul to reorganize around changed sources of information. In losing his sight, John Hull learned how much he had loved seeing, and how much he could love other means of interacting with the world. His poignant and wise description of his rebirth as a blind man, written in incandescent prose, is thrilling and disturbing and demonstrates an exhilarating passion for life itself. ”
Andrew Solomon

John M. Hull

John M. Hull was Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham. He died in July 2015.

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