In this book, Jonah Lehrer argues that great artists and writers have demonstrated an uncanny awareness of mental life. He shows that Whitman's poetry eschewed the dualisms of the 19th century to emphasise the role of the body in the higher processes of thought, anticipating later scientific discoveries; that George Eliot was prescient in her arguments for the plasticity of the brain; and that Proust's descriptions of the associative workings of memory have been borne out by recent research.
Lehrer's approach occasionally takes the form of a somewhat tendentious connecting of dots. But his broader thesis is persuasive, his prose stylish and quotable. "The one reality science cannot reduce," he writes, "is the only reality we will ever know."
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