The Book of the Heart

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0226391175
ISBN-10: 0226391175
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Paperback, June 20, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Jager (The Tempter's Voice) explicates a historical, linguistic model by which humans have created a "metaphor of selfhood" based on the written word. The chapters that concentrate on Augustine and the medieval period, covering both secular and religious writings, provide in-depth analysis of the ways metaphors of the heart and of text written about the heart came to refer to selfhood. It is in the first and final chapters that Jager falls short. In his coverage of the writings of ancient Greeks and Romans, the scriptural writings of the early Christian period, and the Renaissance and modern periods he becomes far more cursory and loses his focus. While the concluding chapter on the current linguistic move away from textual metaphors toward those based on computer and film is interesting, it draws attention away from his argument. Well written but scholarly in tone, this work probably has limited appeal to those who are not scholars or students of medieval literature. Recommended for academic libraries.DKaren E.S. Lempert, Facing History and Ourselves, Brookline, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


The language of hearts and books shaped medieval consciousness for 1,000 years. Jager explores the variations of meaning with sensitivity. -- Times Literary Supplement, September 29, 2000 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (June 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226391175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226391175
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,530,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Stern on January 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a little gem of a book! Dense but lucid, scholarly but unpretentious, Jager trains a steady beam of light on the "book of the heart" as idea, metaphor, and image over almost 20 centuries. It is a marvel of focus and concision, covering numerous authors and texts without slackening or lapsing into self-indulgence. I wish more academics could write like this! For anyone interested in the history of reading -- or, indeed, the history of Western civilization's conception of the self -- this is a very stimulating work. Toward the end, an elegiac tone creeps in and Jager offers well-informed speculation on the future of book-centered modes of thought (I think he is unduly pessimistic in predicting their demise, but it's a minor criticism). The U. of Chicago Press should also be praised for producing a beautiful volume. Highly recommended!
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The Book of the Heart
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