The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-human World

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Vintage Books, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 326 pages
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An accomplished sleight-of-hand magician as well as a gifted philosopher, David Abram has lived and traded magic with indigenous sorcerers on several continents. Starting from the intimate relation between these traditional magicians and the animals, plants, and natural elements that surround them, The Spell of the Sensuous draws us into a remarkable series of investigations regarding the fluid, participatory nature of perception, and the reciprocity between our senses and the sensuous earth. The book unfolds into an exploration of language, and of the power our words have to enhance or to stifle the spontaneous life of the senses. Contrasting the spoken stories of diverse indigenous oral cultures with ways of speaking common to literate civilization, The Spell of the Sensuous reveals the profound impact that writing (and the alphabet) has had upon the human experiences of time, of space, of earthly place.

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The spell of the sensuous: perception and language in a more-than-human world

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This is an interesting, if impossible to classify, book; Abram is a philosopher, magician, and essayist (of the Utne Reader type); this book grew out of his explorations of magic and sorcery in ... Read full review

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User Review  - anne_fitzgerald - LibraryThing

Three essays written in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 that serve as reflections on the unfolding crisis. Read full review



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About the author (1997)

DAVID ABRHAM, Ph.D., is an ecologist and philosopher whose writings have had a deepening influence upon the environmental movement in North America and abroad. A summa cum laude graduate of Wesleyan University, he holds a doctorate in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Watson and Rockefeller Foundations and a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction. He is an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician and has lived and traded magic with indigenous magicians in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Americas.

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