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Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology (Wooden Books) 0th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0802778130
ISBN-10: 0802778135
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The five authors whose books comprise QUADRIVIUM are Miranda Lundy, Anthony Ashton,, Jason Martineau, Daud Sutton, and John Martineau.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wooden Books
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802778135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802778130
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am thrilled with this edition. I own The Golden Section and Ruler and Compass, which I love. They don't delve deeply into their subjects, but they cover an incredible breadth of topics. You can read them cover to cover, or you can just open up to any page and find all sorts of treasures in the text and illustrations. Quadrivium is a collection of 6 books from Wooden Press, Sacred Geometry, Sacred Number, Harmonograph, The Elements of Music, Platonic & Archimedean Solids, and A Little Book of Coincidence... the value alone is unbelievable, as each of these books retails $12... Quadrivium retails $20 and Amazon sells it for $12, so its basically a 6 for 1 deal. I've quoted Quadrivium in school papers, found inspiration in it for art class, and I pick it up in my spare time because it is so interesting. I highly recommend this to people of all ages, it makes a wonderful addition to any library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a compilation of ideas and coincidences to be found in our amazing world. We walk dumbly around without noticing the simplest of things, things that, on closer scrutiny, seem utterly miraculous. Even more amazing is that some of the concepts described in the Quadrivium were discovered and described thousands of years ago by ancient cultures that no longer exist (others mere centuries). Nevertheless, to understand the Quadrivium is to gain insight on our universe, our humanity and our relationship with our divinity.
Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology (Wooden Books)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has amazing art on every other page, has a beautiful hardcover and helped me make connections that I probably never would have. This book is amazing if you have 5 minutes or 5 hours, each concept is done on a single page followed by a visual representation of the material on the other page.

Plus, its a great price, may buy another and donate it to the local library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a scholarly book on the Quadrivium, don't look here.

What's good about this book is that it is physically very beautiful. Each lovely page has a beautiful graphic and an elegant little essay to go with it. What's bad about it is that (1) the elegant little essays have been chopped by some editorial hand to fit on the lovely little pages, and (2) it's a hodgepodge of anachronisms, with essays on quite a bit of material that is totally modern and has nothing whatever to do with the Quadrivium historically, such as the page listing "all" the possible jazz chords (all that some person could think of, anyway, wracking his little brain), and (3) that the unaware reader can have no way of evaluating which pieces of info are historically relevant and which are a bunch of wow-gee-whiz cocktail party factoids. There are plenty of the latter. Some of the material on music (which I know more about than the math and geometry material) is mildly misleading... not wrong, exactly, but not presented in a helpful context. Here's a sentence for you, taken admittedly out of context: "The fourth cannot be diminished, because then it would be a third..." Oh? Somebody forgot to tell Bach and Chopin. Yes, the author is actually talking about the fourth scale degree... but it's a little vague. There is no way for me to tell what, among the factoids and gee-whizzes about astronomy, geometry and arithmetic, what has been chopped out by the editorial hand leaving half-information; one suspects many omissions.

On the bright side, there are some interesting and useful tables of information in the back of the book on various subjects, making it a potentially useful reference. On the other hand, it's not a book that you can safely quote as a reference without having some other source to back it up, fine for cocktail party "did you know blah blah blah? how fascinating" - but I was looking for something a little more serious.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up the book hoping was actually about Quadrivium and instead got a New Age woo woo reformulation of it with lots of nice drawings. And you won't learn much from it, the sections are all pretty superficial in the treatment of the subjects they cover - usually one page and a drawing. A serious drawback is that it suffers from a lack of reference material for people who want to go deeper into these subjects and there are no exercises to help a reader explore items of interest.

The part I liked best was the Appendices & Index. There is a lot of interesting information back there.

Overall the book is well put together and polished. Hats off to the publisher.

Whose the book for? Someone curious about the subjects presented in this book who doesn't want too much information up front, you will like it. It's also a neat coffee table book.

Anyone else looking for a thorough examination of the subjects covered in the book need to look else where.
1 Comment 26 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because I am fascinated by the Classical and Medieval world, and especially by things like the Quadrivium which represent survivals of Classicism in the Medieval period. On the other hand, I realize that much of their world view was based on things which we now know to be false, and the appropriate way to frame discussion of these subjects would be be say things like "It was thought that..." or "It was believed...". Instead, the book is written as if things like the supposed mystical nature of the number ten were literally true. I could understand this if the book was written "in character" as if a Medieval person was writing it, but things like the ten steps of the DNA helix are mentioned, which obviously nobody knew about when the Quadrivium was taught. Presumably the reason for including such modern coincidences is to suggest that the mystical view of number has real validity. But that turns an interesting historical book into a New Age tract.
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Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology (Wooden Books)
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