Natalie Ferris is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of Abstraction in Post-War British Literature 1945–1980 (forthcoming from Oxford University Press, 2022), the co-convenor of the public forum Radical Notations, and the cofounder of the Christine Brooke-Rose Society. She is at work on her second monograph, on dynamism and deception in twentieth-century art, design, and letters, and an edited collection of essays exploring women, creativity, and intelligence work.
Rain in Lisbon often made me think of notation, of glyphs and dashes inscribing a page |/. I know this sounds too romantic, too neat, particularly for a rain that would often fall in unruly sheets, dislodging cobbles, stripping trees, and running thick with dirt and debris. There was something in the geometry of its fall, however, oblique strokes driven by Atlantic winds that would swing in an arc of directions, backlit by the amber lamplight. Each long strip of water was visible, and, in the labored rate of its fall, traceable.