On Seeing: Things Seen, Unseen, and Obscene
"What Oliver Sacks does for the mind, Gonzalez-Crussi (On Being Born and Other Difficulties) does for the eye in this captivating set of philosophical meditations on the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. The author, amused and amazed by our desire to see what is forbidden, draws on historical and cultural examples, from Actaeon spying on the goddess Diana to a pair of voyeurs in revolutionary France who unwittingly incite a massacre. Mixed in with such accounts are personal reflections drawn from medicine. He is astounded, for example, at how many people have pestered him for access to an autopsy, just to say they'd seen one. The ornate sentences are filled with stunning images, like his description of an infant just emerged from the womb, bloody, "weakly flailing his arms" and crying, appearing to the author not as a symbol of life but as resembling "a foot-soldier in a defeated army, a pitiful survivor in a catastrophic retreat," and his prose never loses its elegance, even when the stories he tells veer into the bawdy. Not every anecdote resonates perfectly, but here is a charming raconteur who will who will win over readers with his thoughts on our visual connection to the world around us." c2.
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Aelian Alessio amidst anatomy ancient animal appears artist beauty became bodily body body’s Bonaventure des Périers cadaver Cajal century Cesare Ripa Charcot clinical color contemplation death Demosthenes depicted disease divine double existence extispicy eyes eyesight face famous fear feel female fetal fetus Figure film fire ﬂesh Forbidden City French Frenhofer girl Greek Gustave Courbet hand head human husband idea idols imagination inﬂuence king king’s lady Langey living look Louise Bourgeois lover Madame Campan male Marie de Medicis master medical gaze mental microscopic mind mirror morgue narrative nature Nouvelles objects observation ocular painter painting Paris patient perception personage persons photograph physician Poussin queen reﬂected Renaissance royal scene seems sense sexual sight sitting solenoid Somerset Maugham spectacle stain story symbol tells things thought tion turn unicorn upskirting viewer vision visual visual perception voyeurism watch wife witnesses woman women words young