Couldn't sink

In Lotus Eaters Bloom recalls a photograph (there are several shots of the same scene, taken in 1900) of a man "in the dead sea floating on his back, reading a book with a parasol open." He is correct that in the Dead Sea you "Couldn't sink if you tried: so thick with salt." He cannot quite recall the "law" responsible for this result, which was formulated by the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes in the 3rd century BCE, but in making an effort to remember its particulars he seems to be trying to pull himself out of the lotus-like dream of "The far east" that he has been indulging for more than twenty sentences. The seductive qualities of his imagined Ceylon—warmth, indolence, effortless floating—give way, via the photograph, to scientific logic.

John Hunt 2018

Around the Dead Sea, 1900 photograph held in the G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress. Source: Wikimedia Commons.