On Seeing: Things Seen, Unseen, and Obscene

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Overlook Duckworth, 2006 - Literary Collections - 236 pages
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"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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ON SEEING: Things Seen, Unseen, and Obscene

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Pathologist-turned-author González-Crussi (On Being Born, 2004, etc.) produces another astute series of essays on human mortality and the function of art, this time concerning the sense of sight.He ... Read full review


The Clinical Eye
Microscopy With Some Personal Reminiscences

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About the author (2006)

F. Gonzalez-Crussi, M.D., is the head of laboratories at the Children's Memorial Hospital and a professor of pathology at Northwestern University. He is the author of Notes of an Anatomist, Three Forms of Sudden Death, On the Nature of Things Erotic, The Five Senses, The Day of the Dead, and Suspended Animation. He lives in Chicago.

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