From one of Britain's most eminent reviewers and academics, a delightfully sceptical and devastatingly intelligent assessment of the true value of the arts.
Do the arts make us better people? Are they a sign of civilization? Why should 'high' art be thought higher than 'low'? Are judgements about art anything more than personal opinions? What are works of art anyway - do they belong to some special, sacred category? Can the brain-scientists who are investigating the arts tell us anything useful about them? In the first part of his new book John Carey returns startling answers to these and related questions. In the second part he makes out a self-confessedly personal and subjective case for the superiority of literature to all other arts.
John Carey is a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of several books including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray, and most recently, Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the Twentieth Century's Most Enjoyable Books. He is a regular critic on BBC radio and is the editor of the best-selling anthologies The Faber Book of Reportage, The Faber Book of Science and The Faber Book of Utopias.
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