Thinking Visually [PDF]
10 September 2014, 02:38
2013 | PDF | 3.51MB
Language is a marvelous tool for communication, but it is greatly overrated as a tool for thought. This volume documents the many ways pictures, visual images, and spatial metaphors influence our thinking. It discusses both classic and recent research that support the view that visual thinking occurs not only where we expect to find it, but also where we do not. Much of comprehending language, for instance, depends on visual simulations of words or on spatial metaphors that provide a foundation for conceptual understanding.
Thinking Visually supports comprehension by reducing jargon and by providing many illustrations, educational applications, and problems for readers to solve. It provides a broad overview of topics that range from the visual images formed by babies to acting classes designed for the elderly, from visual diagrams created by children to visual diagrams created by psychologists, from producing and manipulating images to viewing animations. The final chapters discuss examples of instructional software and argue that the lack of such software in classrooms undermines the opportunity to develop visual thinking.
The Long and Short of It: From Aphorism to Novel [PDF]
10 September 2014, 02:20
2014 | PDF | 1.94MB
Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it is also much more. In this exploration of the shortest literary works—wise sayings, proverbs, witticisms, sardonic observations about human nature, pithy evocations of mystery, terse statements regarding ultimate questions—Gary Saul Morson argues passionately for the importance of these short genres not only to scholars but also to general readers.
We are fascinated by how brief works evoke a powerful sense of life in a few words, which is why we browse quotation anthologies and love to repeat our favorites. Arguing that all short genres are short in their own way, Morson explores the unique form of brevity that each of them develops. Apothegms (Heraclitus, Lao Tzu, Wittgenstein) describe the universe as ultimately unknowable, offering not answers but ever deeper questions. Dicta (Spinoza, Marx, Freud) create the sense that unsolvable enigmas have at last been resolved. Sayings from sages and sacred texts assure us that goodness is rewarded, while sardonic maxims (Ecclesiastes, Nietzsche, George Eliot) uncover the self-deceptions behind such comforting illusions. Just as witticisms display the power of mind, "witlessisms" (William Spooner, Dan Quayle, the persona assumed by Mark Twain) astonish with their spectacular stupidity.
Nothing seems further from these short works than novels and epics, but the shortest genres often set the tone for longer ones, which, in turn, contain brilliant examples of short forms. Morson shows that short genres contribute important insights into the history of literature and philosophical thought. Once we grasp the role of aphorisms in Herodotus, Samuel Johnson, Dostoevsky, and even Tolstoy, we see their masterpieces in an entirely new light.
The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination [EPUB]
10 September 2014, 02:10
2014 | EPUB | 1.74MB
The award-winning poet Carl Phillips’s invaluable essays on poetry, the tenth volume in the celebrated Art of series of books on the craft of writing
In seven insightful essays, Carl Phillips meditates on the craft of poetry, its capacity for making a space for possibility and inquiry. What does it mean to give shapelessness a form? How can a poem explore both the natural world and the inner world? Phillips demonstrates the restless qualities of the imagination by reading and examining poems by Ashbery, Bogan, Frost, Niedecker, Shakespeare, and others, and by considering other art forms, such as photography and the blues. The Art of Daring is a lyrical, persuasive argument for the many ways that writing and living are acts of risk. “I think it’s largely the conundrum of being human that makes us keep making,” Phillips writes. “I think it has something to do with revision—how, not only is the world in constant revision, but each of us is, as well.”