A Natural History of the Senses

A Natural History of the Senses


$15.60 $16.95 Save 8% Current price is $15.6, Original price is $16.95. You Save 8%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Use Standard Shipping. For guaranteed delivery by December 24, use Express or Expedited Shipping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679735663
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1991
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 117,981
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Diane Ackerman has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in addition to garnering many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the bestselling The Zookeeper’s Wife and A Natural History of the Senses. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

Table of Contents

In Every Sensexv
The Mute Sense5
A Map of Smell6
Of Violets and Neurons9
The Shape of Smell11
Buckets of Light15
The Winter Palace of Monarchs18
The Oceans Inside Us20
Notions and Nations of Sweat21
The Personality of Smell23
Smell As Camouflage32
The Fallen Angel37
Prodigies of Smell44
A Famous Nose45
An Offering to the Gods54
Cleopatra's Heirs59
The Feeling Bubble67
Speaking of Touch70
First Touches71
What is a Touch?80
The Code Senders83
The Inner Climate88
The Skin Has Eyes94
Adventures In the Touch Dome96
Easing Pain104
The Point of Pain106
The Hand115
Professional Touchers119
Subliminal Touch122
The Social Sense127
Food and Sex130
The Omnivore's Picnic132
Of Cannibalism and Sacred Cows135
The Bloom of a Taste Bud138
The Ultimate Dinner Party143
Macabre Meals146
The Heart of Craving148
The Psychopharmacology of Chocolate153
In Praise of Vanilla157
The Truth About Truffles161
Ginger, and Other Medicines163
How to Make Moose Soup In a Hole in the Ground, or Dine in Space165
Et Fugu, Brute? Food as Thrill-Seeking167
Beauty and the Beasts171
The Hearing Heart175
Phantoms and Drapes180
Jaguar of Sweet Laughter182
Loud Noises186
The Limits of Hearing, the Power of Sound188
Quicksand and Whale Songs198
The Violin Remembers202
Music and Emotion205
Is Music a Language?209
Measure for Measure216
Cathedrals in Sound219
Earth Calling222
The Beholder's Eye229
How to Watch the Sky235
Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall257
The Painter's Eye267
The Face of Beauty270
Watching a Night Launch of the Space Shuttle279
The Force of an Image: Ring Cycle281
The Round Walls of Home283
Courting the Muse292
Further Reading311

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A Natural History of the Senses 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
gibbon on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Written with a poet's sensiitivity to language, this is a beguiling compound of scientific knowledge with literary and historical quotation concerning the five traditional senses. These are followed by chapters on synaesthesia and on tricks used by writers to stimulate their creativity. Wherever you dip into this extraordinary compendium you are sure to find a pearl - and without having to prise open the oyster. The suggested further reading alone could occupy a lifetime.
drsyko on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This is a gorgeous, sumptuous feast of a book. Beautifully written and well researched, this book takes you on a tour of the senses and why they are so important. Ackerman is able to put into words so many things that are hard to describe, and does so with a lushness that is just lovely. If you are a sensualist at all, you will love this book. Fascinating and poetic, it's a great read.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing 21 days ago
A fabulous look at all the senses, with anecdotes, bio facts and neat stories; sometimes overly poetic passages but generally fascinating
csmirl on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Ackerman writes a number of books that accomplish the feat of quality, entertaining writing about science without making it seem like science. Which, I suppose, is simply saying that she brings science to the pleasure readers.She has a poet¿s ear for sentences, and she writes like a teacher. Her descriptions are beautiful and interesting, and she read several hundred books for every one title she writes. There is so very much information packed in that great language. Science very quickly turns me off, but this book fascinated me. I couldn¿t put it down.
jrapala on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This book is my bible. I've read it a number of times and plan to read it again, and again, and again. Ackerman sums up her intention for this book wonderfully in her introduction--"To begin to understand the gorgeous fever that is consciousness, we must try to understand the senses--how they evolved, how they can be extended, what their limits are, to which one we have attached taboos, and what they can teach us about the ravishing world we have the privilege to inhabit."We are connected to the world around us through our senses. The more aware we are of this connection, the better our appreciation of our world. Awareness improves our focus on our senses and teaches us how to better utilize them. Ackerman improves our awareness by exploring each sense from both biological and historical aspects. Ackerman's use of language infuses poetry into these analyses, likened to the experience of exploring an environment. Your food will taste better and the air will smell sweeter after reading this book. We seem to take our senses for granted when in fact they are one of the keys to happiness and love for life. If anything, this book should be in the self-help section. Take a deep breath and taste each molecule you take in. The world is a beautiful place.
woodge on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Loved this book, it was fascinating.
sonyaseattle on LibraryThing 21 days ago
A well-written book that lets you sample the delights of all the senses. It's a good one to pick up and open randomly to a chapter, even after you've read the whole thing.
Cygnus555 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Poetic review of the senses and the science surrounding them. Quite enjoyable for those who are scientificly minded, yet artistically driven.
centime on LibraryThing 21 days ago
If I had to keep only one non-fiction book out of my whole collection, this would be the one. Ms. Ackerman writes beautifully, leaving you hungry for more. She has a fantastic way of interweaving fact, poetry, anecdote, and humor. I read it way too fast, and had to go back for more.
saskreader on LibraryThing 5 months ago
An enjoyable and luxurious read, a palatable offering to be savoured slowly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diane Ackerman's Natural History of the Senses is a wonderful journey through the science, culture, history and mystery of our human senses. I learned some odd little factoids, and I laughed a number of times, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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