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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Great Beauty and Vast Riches
I have been trying for some time to write a review of this book. I give up: I simply cannot do it justice in 1,000 words or less. The book is not flawless, but in the two years since I first read it, I have come back to it again and again, always learning something. It took a long time to read in the first place, because every few pages I would run into an idea that...
Published on December 4, 2002 by G. B. Talovich

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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Consilience and 'the art of making special'
I read Ellen Dissanayake's previous 2 books and found this current publication a little disappointing in comparison. She has developed a philosophy of the arts called 'consilience' based on her Darwinian (biosocial) perspective which unifies biological and cultural viewpoints. The chapters cover her theory of mother/infant mutuality, the need to belong to a group,...
Published on February 4, 2001 by Cheryl


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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Consilience and 'the art of making special', February 4, 2001
By 
Cheryl (Surrey BC CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began (McLellan Books) (Hardcover)
I read Ellen Dissanayake's previous 2 books and found this current publication a little disappointing in comparison. She has developed a philosophy of the arts called 'consilience' based on her Darwinian (biosocial) perspective which unifies biological and cultural viewpoints. The chapters cover her theory of mother/infant mutuality, the need to belong to a group, finding meaning, hands-on competence (making things), and elaboration (making special) as they pertain to the evolution of the arts in human development. My concern is mainly focussed on her ideas of a 'Naturalistic Aesthetics' found in the appendix. She aims to emcompass all the arts (music, dance, drama, visual arts) in developing criteria for assigning aesthetic quality to the artistic process (or is it product??) but fails to convince me that these criteria span all of the arts. For instance, the criteria 'strikingness' is something I would attribute to visual arts but certainly not music where the visual component is not a sense priority. She rightly claims that the meaning of aesthetics is currently fraught with ambiguity in its association with the definition of 'beauty'. Beauty, to me, is highly subjective and not necessarily a universal characteristic amongst all cultural groups. I feel until 'aesthetics' is properly redefined (possibly as 'the power to communicate emotion and value systems') we as arts educators looking for philosophies to give us direction, will continue to beat down the wrong garden path. I can only hope that Dissanayake will receive enough constructive feedback from scholars of other arts disciplines so that she can round out her philosophical viewpoint.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Great Beauty and Vast Riches, December 4, 2002
By 
G. B. Talovich (Wulai, Taiwan, ROC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began (McLellan Books) (Hardcover)
I have been trying for some time to write a review of this book. I give up: I simply cannot do it justice in 1,000 words or less. The book is not flawless, but in the two years since I first read it, I have come back to it again and again, always learning something. It took a long time to read in the first place, because every few pages I would run into an idea that required a few days' thought.
The book is illustrated with wonderful photos. Nobody can look at those babies in Chapter 1 without smiling, thus proving Dissanayake's points. My particular favorite is the little girl in Sudan absorbed in her drawing (p197). Some photos I wish had been bigger. The mbari house on page 153 is barely distinguishable.
Anybody interested in human affairs will benefit from this book. Even those outside human concerns should read it, simply to see how perceptive and stimulating the ideas are.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The arts and their collective perspective, October 2, 2013
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There is a lot of great material in this book about cultural anthropology and the way art is weaves in the discussion. I wish more attention to the eastern art dynamic was articulated to help our western sensibility open up to multiple points of view on placing value in the arts. Overall still a compelling read.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointment, November 24, 2012
By 
Patricia Myers (SANTA CRUZ, CA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began (McLellan Books) (Hardcover)
None of these books were what i was looking for! This was the only time that I have struck out with my impulsive book buying on amazon.
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Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began (McLellan Books)
Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began (McLellan Books) by Ellen Dissanayake (Hardcover - 2000)
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