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A Natural History of the Senses
     

A Natural History of the Senses

4.5 9
by Diane Ackerman
 

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If Colette had studied science and spent time listening to icebergs in Antarctica and interviewing a professional nose in New York, she might have written a book as luscious and erudite as A Natural History of the Senses. In the course of this grand tour of the realm of the senses, Diane Ackerman writes about the evolution of the kiss, the sadistic cuisine of

Overview

If Colette had studied science and spent time listening to icebergs in Antarctica and interviewing a professional nose in New York, she might have written a book as luscious and erudite as A Natural History of the Senses. In the course of this grand tour of the realm of the senses, Diane Ackerman writes about the evolution of the kiss, the sadistic cuisine of eighteenth-century England, the chemistry of pain, and the melodies of the planet Earth with an evocativeness and charm that make the book itself a marvel of literate sensuality.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Physiology and philosophy mesh in this poetic investigation of the five senses; essays explore synesthesia, food taboos, kissing and the power and diversity of music. ``Rooted in science, enlivened by her own convincing sense of wonder, Ackerman's essays awaken us to a fresh awareness,'' said PW. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The five senses not only serve biological functions, they also are inextricably a part of our culture. Award-winning poet Ackerman celebrates the senses by examining their biological bases and the various and bizarre ways we have come to indulge them. Her catalog of the senses is itself a sensuous journey, with prose rich in imagery and rhythm. Ackerman's book is a provocative and entertaining treat whose details will bestir the reader's imagination. Consider, for example, the guest whose pleasure for fragrance led to an untimely death in a shower of rose petals at a Roman feast, or the diner whose thrill at exciting the palate proved deadly upon tasting the poisonous puffer fish. Unlike the fish, this savory delight is recommended for general readers.-- Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
School Library Journal
YA-- An exciting multidiscipline book that crosses the lines of literature, history, anthropology, music, psychology, sociology, and philosophy and that flows with grace and reason. The theme is expressed in such a way as to draw readers into experiential thought and, therefore, impacts heavily upon the way one looks at the issue of sensing and its role for humanity. It is sure to raise readers' consciousness level while providing researched and analyzed information on this topic. In addition, the language is clear and concise, which makes the book valuable to a large cross section of readers. The generous use of cultural and historical examples adds to the readability.-- Nancy Craig, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394573359
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/02/1990
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
331
Product dimensions:
6.55(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.22(d)

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A Natural History of the Senses 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a long time ago but I was so impressed with her writing style that I keep going back to it. THis book takes numbness of life away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to buy this book for a college class. I must say I thought this book was written by a quirky woman who lives in some old mansion with 50 cats or something. In many parts, it gets so sappy that I can barely read it. There are some interesting stories in it nevertheless, but for the most part, it's like reading sugar x 10. I wouldn't recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enchanting and informative, this book leads you through each of the human senses. Ackerman is in top form