5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should read
This book was suggested to me by my dissertation director. I don't hesitate to suggest it to everyone!! It's an education in itself.
Published 19 months ago by mad
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars HMMMM....
Dr.Abram's book introduced me to a whole new way of looking at language and especially writing in relation to the sensuous earth, and for that I am grateful (and that is why i rated it a 3 out of 5). I would definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in the study of language, philosophy or the environment.
Published on Dec 31 2003 by S.J. Snyder
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5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should read,
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This review is from: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Paperback)This book was suggested to me by my dissertation director. I don't hesitate to suggest it to everyone!! It's an education in itself.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling. This book changes lives.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Paperback)I heard the author in a spirited public debate between him and biologist E.O. Wilson a couple years ago, at the old Town Hall in Boston. The mutual respect between the two men was palpable (perhaps because they are both outspoken advocates for wild nature). Yet they hold richly contrasting views regarding human society and its relation to the earth. Abram's eloquence there moved me to order this book. Upon reading it I was, in a word, stunned. It's easily one of the most important works I've come upon in thirty years of serious reading.
A few of the reader reviews below are absurdly off the mark. One of them claims that the book is anti-science. That's simply inane; I'm a working biologist, and can avow that this book is entirely consonant with the best of contemporary natural science. Indeed "The Spell of the Sensuous" got a rave review in "Science" (the journal of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science). Here's a brief excerpt from that review: "A truly original work. Abram puts forth his daring hypothesis with a poetic vigor and argumentative insight that stimulate reconsideration of the technological commonplace...With Abram anthropology becomes a bridge between science and its others." (Science, vol. 275)
"This is a landmark book. Scholars will doubtless recognize its brilliance, but they may overlook the most important part of Abram's achievement: he has written the best instruction manual yet for becoming fully human. I walked outside when I was done and the world was a different place."
~Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature"
"A masterpiece - combining poetic passion with intellectual rigor and daring. Electric with energy, it offers us a new approach to scholarly inquiry: as a fully embodied human animal. It opens pathways and vistas that will be fruitfully explored for years, indeed for generations, to come."
~Joanna Macy, Buddhist scholar and author
"Speculative, learned, and always 'lucid and precise' as the eye of the vulture that confronted him once on a cliff ledge, Abram has one of those rare minds which, like the mind of a musician or a great mathematician, fuses dreaminess with smarts."
~The Village Voice
"Long-awaited, revolutionary. . . This book ponders the violent disconnection of the body from the natural world and what this means about how we live and die in it."
~The Los Angeles Times
"The outer world of nature is what awakens our inner world in all its capacities for understanding, affection and aesthetic appreciation. The wind, the rain, the mountains and rivers, the woodlands and meadows and all their inhabitants; we need these perhaps even more for our psyche than for our physical survival. No one that I know of has presented all this with the literary skill as well as the understanding that we find in this work of David Abram. It should be one of the most widely read and discussed books of these times."
~Thomas Berry, author of "The Dream of the Earth"
"I am breaking a vow to cease all blurb-writing for three years, but Abram's Spell must be praised. It's so well done, well-written, well thought. I know of no work more valuable for shifting our thinking and feeling about the place of humans in the world. Your children and their children will be grateful to him."
~James Hillman, author of "Revisioning Psychology"
"The Spell of the Sensuous does more than place itself on the cutting edge where ecology meets philosophy, psychology, and history. It magically subverts the dichotomies of culture and nature, body and mind, opening a vista of organic being and human possibility that is often imagined but seldom described. Reader beware, the message is spell-binding. One cannot read this book without risk of entering into an altered state of perceptual possibility."
~Max Oelschlager, author of "The Idea of Wilderness"
"Read it and get your gourd rattled smartly."
~ Jim Harrison, author of "Legends of the Fall"
"Disclosing the sentience of all nature, and revealing the unsuspected effect of the more-than-human on our language and our lives, in unprecedented fashion, Abram generates true philosophy for the twenty-first century."
~Lynn Margulis, co-originator of the Gaia Hypothesis,
"When rumor had it that David Abram was writing a book, we expected it to be very special and very powerful. Those expectations were justified. This book has the ability to awaken us. . ."
~Arne Naess, University of Oslo, founder of "deep ecology"
"A tour-de-force of sustained intelligence, broad scholarship, and a graceful prose style that has produced one of the most interesting books about nature published during the past decade."
~ Jack Turner, in "Terra Nova"
"Nobody writes about the ecological depths of the human and more-than-human world with more love and lyrical sensitivity than David Abram. "
~Theodore Roszak, author of "Where the Wasteland Ends"
"This book by David Abram lights up the landscape of language, flesh, mind, history, mapping us back into the world..."
~Gary Snyder, author of "Turtle Island"
"David Abram's passionate knowledge of language, mythology, landscape and his meditations on the human senses - all make for highly-charged, memorable reading. Without sermon, dogma, or academic bluster, The Spell of the Sensuous deftly tours us through interior and exterior terrains of the spirit, right up to the present. This is a major work of research and intuitive brilliance, an archive of clear ideas. At the end of a century of precarious ecology, "The Spell of the Sensuous" strikes the deepest notes of celebration and alertness - an indispensible book!"
~Howard Norman, folklorist, author of "The Bird Artist"
"Brilliant in its own field of environmental philosophy, it is destined to change the way we think about linguistics, literature, anthropology, and comparative religion, as well as the living landscape around us. . . . Beautifully written, elegantly argued, immensely original, The Spell of the Sensuous is the kind of book that comes along once in a generation. Like Carson's Silent Spring, it will become the touchstone for environmental literacy in the years to come."
~ Christopher Manes, in "Wild Earth"
5.0 out of 5 stars Change the way you think, and the things you think will change...,
This review is from: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Paperback)Despite aboriginals being so sidelined on our society, haven't you been curious about their stories? what they mean? how it is to operate in the world without being literate and how it may affect your worldview? This book dives really deep...
It is absolutely incredible how we have taken the written word, literacy, as such a leap of human develepment. Yet where has this 'development' got us? Look around. The world is crumbling. Maybe literacy is just a tool like a knife: used to fillet a fish or to kill a fellow man...
David Abram makes you wonder: what is progress? what is time? what is truth?
If you seek enlightenment in the crazy, impersonal world we live in - READ THIS BOOK.
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool book...,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars at last--,
By A Customer
Abrams' premise is that the development of the alphabet created an abstract world which became the foundation of western philosophy and religion, and that our involvement in this abstract world allowed us to separate ourselves for the first time from the natural world, eventually leading to this moment in time when we have all but forgotten our connection to nature.
I was especially moved by Abrahams definition of truth, that all our truths are false if they result in destruction of the planet. We must become aware of the reciprocality of the relationship we have with other living and nonliving things, including the very air we breathe.
How compelling to read that the very air for indigenous and early communities was considered sacred, connecting all living creatures with the world around them and with the creator,then to consider the relationship contemporary culture has with the invisble air, not as the breath of God, but as a dumping ground for pollution.
This book contains the framework for a new way of thinking about ourselves in the world. At the very least, it accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to encourage an awakening of the senses. Through poetic prose, Abrams calls us outside of ourselves into a more vibrant and living world.
5.0 out of 5 stars The most profound book I've ever read,
I didn't think I would ever find a book like this. It not only gives beautiful expression to a world and a world of thought that I had come to think as irretrievably extinct, but it does it with so much power and background knowledge drawing with clarity and precision from many fields that are normally viewed as distinct disciplines (Philosophy, Anthropology, History, Linguistics) and puts it all together into a whole that is certainly greater than the sum of it's parts.
But it is also far more than an academic tour de force. David Abram is a magician in more than one sense. This book is itself truly a piece of magic.
For anyone who cares about planet earth, nature, mankind and our future, this book is an absolute must-read! Sure, some people will misinterpret it or read into it what they want. Maybe even reject it's basic premise outright. But if any book has the power to turn our thinking around (which I believe must happen for us to survive), this is it. Or at least, it's a fabulous start.
Good work, David!
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm waiting for his next book,
5.0 out of 5 stars A most excellent immersion,
In particular, I was fascinated by the suggestion that one name of God, "Yahweh", may actually be a symbolic representation of the Breath of Life, as the syllables correspond to the sounds of the intake and outtake of air. Abram does a better job explaining this than I can here, but it's worth reading just for that section alone, at least for me. The inference was that God would then be in all of us as the breath of life, making spirituality as real and tangible as any other part of life. It's not a religious book but that section -- maybe just a few paragraphs, really -- struck a part of me that hadn't expected to be affected by an environmentally focused book.
You might read this and have an entirely different reaction, based on your personal worldview and the symbology reflected therein. You might even find it weak or New Age-y. But if you give it a chance, you might find yourself breathing differently, too. I think that's worth the reasonable price.
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! A Literary Masterpiece!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Change Your Mind,
By A Customer
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The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram (Paperback - Feb. 25 1997)
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