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Historian Daniel J. Boorstin brings his customary depth and range to this compelling book on Western art, taking on everything from European megaliths (Stonehenge, for example) to Benjamin Franklin's autobiography ("the first American addition to world literature"). Boorstin does not aim at being comprehensive--he much prefers to linger over certain "heroes of the imagination" as he surveys human accomplishment in the fields of architecture, music, painting, sculpting, and writing--yet The Creators certainly feels comprehensive, as Boorstin carefully places everything he describes within a grand tradition of aesthetic achievement.
Boorstin knows that good history demands good writing, and his prose makes this big book easy to absorb. "This is a story," he writes, "of how creators in all the arts have enlarged, embellished, fantasized, and filigreed our experience"--an apt description of the role art plays in our life and an equally apt description of the way Boorstin interprets it for readers. (The Creators also is the second volume of a trilogy that starts with The Discoverers and concludes with The Seekers, although none of these books requires any knowledge of the others.) --John J. Miller
From Publishers Weekly
Boorstin's companion volume to The Discoverers --a one-week PW bestseller and a BOMC main selection in cloth--chronicles 3000 years of artistic invention, while providing entertaining biographical profiles of Dante, Leonardo, Goethe, Ben Franklin, Picasso and dozens more.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Sometimes I had to set with a dictionary open and ready, just to get through the sections, especially the part on Greek temple construction. The reading of this book helped me to appreciate more of what I've seen in Rome, Italy and elsewhere on my trips. The sections on Dante, Giotto, Shakespeare, Goethe, Verdi, Wagner, Beethoven, Voltaire, Dickens, Sartre, Kafka and others were very revealing and stuff that I had never been made aware of. Everything in the US has been tremendously influenced by Europe and before that by the Greeks and the Romans. Nothing is new, the Romans made concrete 2000 years ago.
The areas of focus for this book are:
1. "The Riddle of Creation" (creation stories in differant cultures)
a. Worlds without beginnings (eastern religions)
b. A creator-god (mostly western religions)
2."Creator Man" (stone age through middle ages)
a. The Power of Stone (early monuments)
b. The Magic of Images (writing)
c. The Immortal Word (the first books)
3."Re-Creating the World" (middle ages to 1920's)
a. Otherworldly Elements (religous art)
b. The Human Comedy (books of the late middle ages to more modern books)
c. From Craftsman to Artist (Paintings)
d. Conjuring with time and space (light, buildings, etc.)
4. "Creating the self" (modern times)
a. The Vanguard Word (famous books)
b. The Wilderness Within (authors and painters who excluded themselves from society)
These differant areas cover the main areas of the arts through the ages.
The only problem with this book was the music sections. For some one with no musical experiance, the book was a little over my head. This is about 50-100 pages of the book.
I would suggest this book to others.
If the Discoverers covered the searching mind then the Creators is a study of the searching soul. Covering topics as far apart as music, art, poetry, religion, architecture, literature, psychology and science, he skillfully reviews the history of man's search for himself. His quirky yet factual tidbits of history enlighten the story of (mainly) Western culture although he does examine aspects of other cultures. If you are a person interested in all things human then this is the book for you.
The Creators has been criticized for its so-called "Western" outlook as if that automatically made the work suspect. Why is the European viewpoint less worthy than say, an Arab viewpoint? The West has profoundly affected the world - and continues to do so today - unlike any other culture with such ideas as liberty, democracy, pluralism and individualism. And what kind of person denigrates their own culture for no other reason than its trendy to do so? This is a magnificent work that will keep you enthralled for days. Get it now
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of a series of books of how things originated and improved upon..Published 4 days ago by Curtiss J. Biehn
I have the Boorstin series in both hardcover and for my Kindle. It is one of those books that you can pickup and read a chapter every now and then without feeling compelled to... Read morePublished 5 months ago by mary w truland
Came on time and in perfect condition, brand new. My husband, who's a history buff, will love it.Published 10 months ago by Carol
Not a page turner but informative, educational and well done follow up to the Discoverers.Published 12 months ago by Luciano W.