The Passionate Mind

The Passionate Mind : Sources of Destruction and Creativity

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Description

Consciousness, declares Robin Fox, is "out of context." Useful as an adaptation in the Stone Age, it brought humanity to the top of the food chain but has now created a world it cannot control. The Passionate Mind explores this paradox not through academic demonstration but through satiric dialogues, blank-verse ruminations, lyric, narrative and comic verse, and Aesopian fables. This mix of genres and styles forces us out of our usual linear modes of thinking to confront a harsh thesis. Because of consciousness we cannot operate without ideas, but once in thrall to ideas--whether of love, power, religion, or ideology--we cannot operate without destructiveness lest we become imprisoned by them.

The range of subjects and genres Fox covers includes a verse summary of the key points of human evolution, a conference of farm animals ruminating on their social problems, visions of a desperate future from a neolithic hunter and a shaman at Lascaux, Kafkaesque trial scenes, and a new version of "God is dead." George Washington, having lost at Yorktown is put on trial with Adams, Jefferson, and Benedict Arnold giving evidence. Through the persona of Humbert Humbert as decadent Europe, the new world of Lolita/America is faced with the consequences of its pursuit of happiness. Scandinavian utopianism and salvation through romantic eros get their turn, and the basic "design failure" of humanity is examined in a Platonic dialogue. A bullfight and the struggle for existence in New Jersey farming lead up to a monologue from a decidedly unlikely Jesus who turns out to be part of an alien plan to control an otherwise out of control human race. Through this kaleidoscopic mix, Fox mounts a case for a thorough revision of consciousness that breaks "realistic" boundaries between science, the humanities, religion, and myth.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 331 pages
  • 154.9 x 229.9 x 28.2mm | 607.13g
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 2nd New edition
  • 0765806320
  • 9780765806321

Review quote

-A beautiful, strange work . . . a free, wild book.-

--Dame Iris Murdoch

-If ever there was a book to show that there is more than one way to 'say' anthropology, this is it. The essays are witty, sarcastic, large minded, philosophically informed, inventive. The poems bristle in the right places and ultimately bite at the heart. By eloquently mixing the forms and levels of discourse, Fox has forced a confrontation with the usual linear modes of text construction, interpretation and analytic thought.-

--Ivan Brady, American Anthropologist

-A book bursting with wit, courage, panache, brilliance and defiant originality. The verse is as good as anything in the journals and a hundred times smarter.-

--Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Humanities, University of Texas, Dallas

-I certainly recognized the sophisticated intelligence, imaginativeness and essential concern...rational statement but with brio; accomplished manipulation of traditional verse forms; realistic reports of contemporary life, but with a symbolic or archetypal dimension; a pervading ebullience.-

--David Perkins, John P. Marquand Professor of English, Harvard University, author of A History of Modern Poetry

-The work recalls Auden at his best, and for me that's praise of the highest order.-

--John Mella, editor, Light: The Quarterly of Light Verse

-A quite extraordinary piece of work. I was astonished by its range of genres and styles and by the masterly use of them. The verse is unusually accomplished and much of it quite moving. The dialogue in 'The Trial of George Washington' is wonderful - crisp and formal, faintly archaic, witty and taut. Fox loves words and hovers over them like Nabokov over a butterfly (or over a word for that matter). It is lovely to find that in a man of science.-

--Robert Storey, Professor of English, Temple University "A beautiful, strange work . . . a free, wild book."

--Dame Iris Murdoch

"If ever there was a book to show that there is more than one way to 'say' anthropology, this is it. The essays are witty, sarcastic, large minded, philosophically informed, inventive. The poems bristle in the right places and ultimately bite at the heart. By eloquently mixing the forms and levels of discourse, Fox has forced a confrontation with the usual linear modes of text construction, interpretation and analytic thought."

--Ivan Brady, American Anthropologist

"A book bursting with wit, courage, panache, brilliance and defiant originality. The verse is as good as anything in the journals and a hundred times smarter."

--Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Humanities, University of Texas, Dallas

"I certainly recognized the sophisticated intelligence, imaginativeness and essential concern...rational statement but with brio; accomplished manipulation of traditional verse forms; realistic reports of contemporary life, but with a symbolic or archetypal dimension; a pervading ebullience."

--David Perkins, John P. Marquand Professor of English, Harvard University, author of A History of Modern Poetry

"The work recalls Auden at his best, and for me that's praise of the highest order."

--John Mella, editor, Light: The Quarterly of Light Verse

"A quite extraordinary piece of work. I was astonished by its range of genres and styles and by the masterly use of them. The verse is unusually accomplished and much of it quite moving. The dialogue in 'The Trial of George Washington' is wonderful - crisp and formal, faintly archaic, witty and taut. Fox loves words and hovers over them like Nabokov over a butterfly (or over a word for that matter). It is lovely to find that in a man of science."

--Robert Storey, Professor of English, Temple University "A beautiful, strange work . . . a free, wild book."

--Dame Iris Murdoch

"If ever there was a book to show that there is more than one way to 'say' anthropology, this is it. The essays are witty, sarcastic, large minded, philosophically informed, inventive. The poems bristle in the right places and ultimately bite at the heart. By eloquently mixing the forms and levels of discourse, Fox has forced a confrontation with the usual linear modes of text construction, interpretation and analytic thought."

--Ivan Brady, American Anthropologist

"A book bursting with wit, courage, panache, brilliance and defiant originality. The verse is as good as anything in the journals and a hundred times smarter."

--Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Humanities, University of Texas, Dallas

"I certainly recognized the sophisticated intelligence, imaginativeness and essential concern...rational statement but with brio; accomplished manipulation of traditional verse forms; realistic reports of contemporary life, but with a symbolic or archetypal dimension; a pervading ebullience."

--David Perkins, John P. Marquand Professor of English, Harvard University, author of A History of Modern Poetry

"The work recalls Auden at his best, and for me that's praise of the highest order."

--John Mella, editor, Light: The Quarterly of Light Verse

"A quite extraordinary piece of work. I was astonished by its range of genres and styles and by the masterly use of them. The verse is unusually accomplished and much of it quite moving. The dialogue in 'The Trial of George Washington' is wonderful - crisp and formal, faintly archaic, witty and taut. Fox loves words and hovers over them like Nabokov over a butterfly (or over a word for that matter). It is lovely to find that in a man of science."

--Robert Storey, Professor of English, Temple University "If ever there was a book to show that there is more than one way to 'say' anthropology, this is it."

--Ivan Brady, "American Anthropologist" "A beautiful, strange work... a wild, free book."

--Dame Iris Murdoch
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Rating details

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