Visionary Eye Essays in the Arts, Literature, and Science

ISBN-10: 0262520680
ISBN-13: 9780262520683
Edition: N/A
List price: $26.00
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Description: 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,  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.00
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 6/15/1981
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 198
Size: 9.25" wide x 6.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

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 Manand 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 Eyeserves 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 Eyecontains 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.

Born in Poland, Jacob Bronowski moved to England at the age of 12. He received a scholarship to study mathematics at Cambridge University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1933. At Cambridge, Bronowski edited a literary magazine and wrote verse. He served as lecturer at University College in Hull before joining the government service in 1942. During World War II Bronowski participated in military research. He pioneered developments in operations research, which enhanced the effectiveness of Allied bombing raids. After viewing the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Bronowski refused to continue military research and became involved with the ethical and technological issues related to science. When he wrote a report on the devastating effects of the atomic bomb, the experience became critical to his career as an author. The report was eventually incorporated in his book Science and Human Values (1965). After World War II Bronowski joined the Ministry of Works, assuming several government posts concerned with research in power resources. In 1964 he came to the United States and served as senior fellow (1964-70) and then director (1970-74) of the Council for Biology in Human Affairs at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. He taught and lectured at several American universities, including MIT, Columbia University, and Yale. Until his death, Bronowski remained a resident fellow at the Salk Institute. Bronowski's writing career can be divided into two periods. Prior to World War II, he wrote mathematical papers, poetry, and literary criticism. After the war, Bronowski wrote mainly about scientific values, science as a humanistic enterprise, language, and creativity. In 1973 Bronowski's acclaimed 13-part BBC television series titled The Ascent of Man chronicled attempts to understand and control nature from antiquity to the present. The series called for a democracy of intellect in which "knowledge sits in the homes and heads of people with no ambition to control others, and not up in the isolated seats of power." Neither naive nor utopian, Bronowski remained a consistent optimist and defender of science. In A Sense of the Future (1977), Bronowski states that, as science becomes increasingly preoccupied with relations and arrangement, it too becomes engaged in the search for structure that typifies modern art. He believed that self-knowledge brings together the experience of the arts and the explanations of science.

Introduction
Acknowledgments
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
Art as a Mode of Knowledge (The A. W. Mellon Lectures in Fine Arts for 1969)
The Power of Artifacts
The Speaking Eye, The Visionary Ear
Music, Metaphor, and Meaning
The Act of Recognition
Imagination as Plan and as Experiment
The Play of Values in the Work of Art
Index

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