Mathematician, poet, philosopher, life scientist, playwright, teacher, Jacob Bronowski could readily be referred to as a Renaissance Man. But in the historical context that would do him a disservice: he is, par excellence, a Twentieth Century Man, who has traced the arts and sciences of earlier centuries and especially those of his own time to their common root in the uniquely human imagination.Bronowski is the author of such widely read books as The Ascent of Man and Science and Human Values. In 1977, The MIT Press published A Sense of the Future: Essays in Natural Philosophy. In those essays, the emphasis is on scientific questions, but in a number of them the notion of "art as a mode of knowledge" is invoked to make the science clearer and its human dimension more vivid. The Visionary Eye serves as a companion volume: here the emphasis is on the arts and humanities, but (as the subtitle suggests) "science as a mode of imagination" comes into play to extend the reach of the visionary eye.The Visionary Eye contains eleven essays: "The Nature of Art," "The Imaginative Mind in Art," "The Imaginative Mind in Science," "The Shape of Things," "Architecture as a Science and Architecture as an Art," and Art as a Mode of Knowledge, Bronowski's A.
W. Mellon Lectures given at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The essays discuss examples taken from across the spectrum of the arts, past and present -- music, poetry, painting and sculpture, architecture, industrial design, and engineering artifacts -- in the coherent context of Bronowski's view of the human creative process.
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(228mm x 154mm x 13mm)
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US Kirkus Review »
The posthumous Bronowski industry continues to thrive and we can be grateful. These particular essays concern the creative forces which shape both art and science - a favorite Bronowski theme paralleled in his life. Bronowski the mathematician was also a Blake authority. While at Cambridge he and classmate William Empson edited a literary magazine called Experiment, and throughout his life Bronowski wrote poetry and plays which, if not brilliant, contribute to his polymath reputation. The main point of the writings here is that in creative works, whether in the arts or in science, the creator is conveying knowledge through imagery. (For Bronowski, imagination is essentially "image-making" and a specifically human faculty.) Our response to art must be a re-creation which liberates us; we recognize something hitherto unperceived, something which changes and enriches us or points a new direction. Our experience of the work is also bound up with values. Creative work enables us to cross the divide separating man from man, showing us our humanness and at the same time providing a key to the universe within us. None of these ideas is new or unique. Bronowski's aesthetics has something of Pound's "Make it new" and something of the dynamics of existentialism. It is a wedding of style and content in which "Beauty is the byproduct of interest and pleasure in the choice of action." What makes Bronowski's formulations exciting are the wide range of example and information, the wit, and the clarity. This is a man who says life "has no unique and final solution" and one who clearly followed his own dictum that "you must always feel that you are exploring the values by which you live and forming them with every step you take." Bronowski did just that - with style. (Kirkus Reviews)
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