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He could just as well have quoted another Sontag formulation--"Transparence means experiencing the luminousness of the thing in itself"--because his familiar, if not unjust, premise is that we've lost this transparence, along with the ability to see, hear, and feel enough.
We see this most clearly through the characterization of Percy Grimm, a "prophetlike" (453) character, like "a young priest" (464), whose "face had that serene, unearthly luminousness of angels in church windows" (462).
He'll be remembered as one of the great writers of the mid- to late twentieth century, due to the power and imagination of his work, the luminousness of the prose.