A new edition of the bestselling classic – published with a special introduction to mark its 10th anniversary This pioneering account sets out to understand the structure of the human brain – the place where mind meets matter. Until recently, the left hemisphere of our brain has been seen as the ‘rational’ side, the superior partner to the right. But is this distinction true? Drawing on a vast body of experimental research, Iain McGilchrist argues while our left brain makes for a wonderful servant, it is a very poor master. As he shows, it is the right side which is the more reliable and insightful. Without it, our world would be mechanistic – stripped of depth, colour and value. “A veritable tour de force, gradually and skilfully revealed. I know of no better exposition of the current state of functional brain neuroscience.”—W. F. Bynum, TLS “A profound examination.”—Philip Pullman “Persuasively argues that our society is suffering from the consequences of an over-dominant left hemisphere losing touch with its natural regulative ‘master’ the right. Brilliant and disturbing.”—Salley Vickers, a Guardian Best Book of the Year “Clear, penetrating, lively, thorough and fascinating. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Mary Midgley, The Guardian
Iain McGilchrist is a former fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he taught literature before training in medicine. He now lives on the Isle of Skye, where he continues to write, and lectures worldwide.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vi
Preface to the New Expanded Edition x
Introduction: The Master and His Emissary 1
Part 1 The Divided Brain 15
Chapter 1 Asymmetry and the Brain 16
Chapter 2 What do the Two Hemispheres 'Do'? 32
Chapter 3 Language, Truth and Music 94
Chapter 4 The Nature of the Two Worlds 133
Chapter 5 The Primacy of the Right Hemisphere 176
Chapter 6 The Triumph of the Left Hemisphere 209
Part 2 How the Brain has Shaped Our World 239
Chapter 7 Imitation and the Evolution of Culture 240
Chapter 8 The Ancient World 257
Chapter 9 The Renaissance and the Reformation 298
Chapter 10 The Enlightenment 330
Chapter 11 Romanticism and the Industrial Revolution 352
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