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Bronowski was fascinated by William Blake for much of his life. His first book about him, A Man Without a Mask," " was published in 1944. In 1958 his famous Penguin selection of Blake's poems and letters was published. As further testimony to Bronowski's enthusiasm it should be noted that the final plate in the book of his great TV series "The Ascent of Man "is Blake's frontispiece to Songs of Experience.""
William Blake and the Age of Revolution," " first published in 1965, " "is, in some ways, a revised edition of A Man Without a Mask, in others, a new book. ""In it Bronowski gives a stimulating interpretation of Blake's art and poetry in the context of the revolutionary period in which he was working. Like all of Bronowski's writings it dazzles with wide-ranging erudition, making this work far removed from conventional literary criticism.
"A gem of enlightenment. . . . One rejoices in Bronowski's dedication to the identity of acts of creativity and of imagination, whether in Blake or Yeats or Einstein or Heisenberg."-Kirkus Reviews "A delightful look at the inquiring mind."-Library Journal In this eloquent volume Jacob Bronowski, mathematician and scientist, presents a succinct introduction to the state of modern thinking about the role of science in man's intellectual and moral life. Weaving together themes from ethnology, linguistics, philosophy, and physics, he confronts the questions of who we are, what we are, and how we relate to the universe around us.
The Ascent of Man is regarded as one of television's greatest acheivements. Dr Jacob Bronowski traces the steps of scientific imagination through history as they happened, where they happened.
Includes a specially written 48 page illustrated booklet of viewing notes to accompany this DVD.
A new paperback edition of Dr. Bronowski's classic history of humankind, with a foreword by Richard Dawkins
Dr. Jacob Bronowksi's classic traces the development of human society through our understanding of science. First published in 1973 to accompany the groundbreaking BBC television series, it is considered one of the first works of "popular science," illuminating the historical and social context of scientific development for a generation of readers. In his highly accessible style, Dr. Bronowski discusses human invention from the flint tool to geometry, agriculture to genetics, and from alchemy to the theory of relativity, showing how they all are expressions of our ability to understand and control nature. In this new paperback edition, "The Ascent of Man" inspires, influences, and informs as profoundly as ever.
A collection of vintage interviews taken from the long-running BBC TV chat show 'Parkinson'. With contributions from some of the leading lights of music, film and the arts over the years, those featured include Michael Caine, Jonathan Miller, Peter Ustinov, Bette Midler, Dr Jacob Bronowski, and Oprah Winfrey.
Jacob Bronowski was, with Kenneth Clarke, the greatest popularizer of serious ideas in Britain between the mid 1950s and the early 1970s. Trained as a mathematician, he was equally at home with painting and physics, and wrote a series of brilliant books that tried to break down the barriers between 'the two cultures'. He denounced 'the destructive modern prejudice that art and science are different and somehow incompatible interests'. He wrote a fine book on William Blake while running the National Coal Board's research establishment.
The Common Sense of Science, first published in 1951, is a vivid attempt to explain in ordinary language how science is done and how scientists think. He isolates three creative ideas that have been central to science: the idea of order, the idea of causes and the idea of chance. For Bronowski, these were common-sense ideas that became immensely powerful and productive when applied to a vision of the world that broke with the medieval notion of a world of things ordered according to their ideal natures. Instead, Galileo, Huyghens and Newton and their contemporaries imagined 'a world of events running in a steady mechanism of before and after'. We are still living with the consequences of this search for order and causality within the facts that the world presents to us.
This volume, the Frank Gerstein Lectures for 1963, is the second series of Invitation Lectures to be delivered at York University. The theme "Imagination and the University" was appropriate for, as President Murray Ross states in this Foreword, it is in its early years that a university is sufficiently flexible to utilize imagination in its structure and in its curriculum. York University was in its third year when the Lectures were given. Four distinguished scholars present their views on the importance of an imaginative approach to the different academic disciplines, and to the conduct of life in contemporary society as a whole. Jacob Bronowski, speaking on Imagination in Art and Science, draws a clear and striking analogy between the role of imagination in mathematics and in poetry, drawing on his own experiences and contributions in both areas. He stresses that all creative works in art or science, must conform to the universal experience of mankind and to the private experiences of each man: the work of science, as of art, moves us profoundly, in mind and in emotion, when it matches our experience and at the same time points beyond it. Henry Steele Commager shows how important is the contribution to be made by an imaginative approach to politics, where, as in other fields of human experience, it must not be separated from reality, if it is to find expression in something more than words. He points to examples from the past and the present and asks for more imagination in public thinking, it fit our actions to the reality of change, citing the urgency of such twentieth-century phenomena as the status of Communist China, the predicted population explosion, and the threat of nuclear war. Professor Commager believes that the universities provide the key to this kind of approach, being a supreme example of the creative capacity of mankind, whose function it is to serve the commonwealth of learning. A different kind of insight is offered by Gordon W. Allport, whose subject is Imagination in Psychology. He believes that the present "impertinence" of psychology can best be cured by endowing it with more imagination. He demands a pluralistic approach to psychological investigation, which would not deny the insights yielded by traditional methods, with their characteristic minute analyses, but whose goal would be to fashion a conception of the human person that would exclude nothing that is valid, and at the same time preserve an ideal of rational consistency. This could lead, in turn, to a clear definition of the root motives of mankind, even to discovering new formulas for international peace by offsetting particularistic political demands. Finally, Paul H. Buck describes the Harvard House Plan as an example of Imagination and the Curriculum. This plan, modelled on the Oxford-Cambridge College system which is also followed in some Canadian universities, is an attempt to make all aspects of undergraduate life a process of education. And a truly liberal education for today and tomorrow, Professor Buck is confident, will combine a programme of general education, a programme of specialism, and a collegiate way of living.
Science has called into question many traditional assumptions about
human nature. In the age of the human genome project, this truism
is even more obvious than it was in 1965, when scientist and
historian of ideas Jacob Bronowski first delivered the lectures
upon which this book is based. Has science revealed that we are
essentially just complex machines? Or is human identity more than
the sum of its parts?
The late Dr. J. Bronowski was both a distinguished mathematician and a poet, a philosopher of science and a literary critic who wrote a well-known study of William Blake. Dr. Bronowski's very career was founded on the premise of an intimate connection between science and the humanities, disciplines which are still generally thought to be worlds apart.
"The Common Sense of Science," a book which remains as topical today as it was when it first appeared twenty-five years ago, articulates and develops Bronowski's provocative idea that the sciences and the arts fundamentally share the same imaginative vision.
Bronowski once wrote: 'It is often said that science has destroyed our values and put nothing in its place. What has really happened of course is that science has shown in harsh relief the division between our values and our world.' He believed profoundly that science can create the values we lack by looking into the human personality, exploring what makes humans unique and their societies human rather than animal packs.
Science and Human Values is a continuation of Bronowski's quest to make science part of our world and to hold that world to the rational and ethical values of the liberated human spirit.
Few works on the meaning of science open more dramatically. Bronowski describes how he arrived in Nagasaki in the autumn of 1945, and saw what looked like broken rocks 'the ruins of industrial buildings' and 'otherwise nothing but cockeyed telegraph poles and loops of wire in a bare waste of ashes'. Never before, he writes, was he so aware of the power of science for good and for evil. In Nagasaki civilization came face to face with its own implications.
We must not hive science off to a separate zone that we despise and fear: modern societies must make informed decisions about what science does, and insist that all the work a civilization does should respect what Bronowski calls 'the sense of human dignity'. Science has humanized our values, and its values of freedom, justice and respect are not yet accepted in the conduct of states and individuals. The ends for which we work must be judged by the means we use to achieve them.
Eleven lively essays exploring the human imagination at work across the spectrum of the arts-music, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, industrial design, and engineering.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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