Fragments of Life, Metaphysics and Art

ISBN 10: 1560002492 / ISBN 13: 9781560002499
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Synopsis:

To students of Leo Bronstein, this second edition of a classic text, first published in 1953, is a welcome and long-awaited event. To those unfamiliar with Bronstein's work, Fragments of life, Metaphysics and Art will be a fascinating introduction to the philosophic and aesthetic concerns of a subtle and supremely sensitive artistic mind.

A series of imaginary letters from various individuals—prisoner, soldier, philosopher, mathematician, and teacher—the book challenges the man-made distinction between spirit and matter, yet embraces the two-fold pattern of history and consciousness. Through a "fissure or tear in the accustomed," as one letter puts it, one sees the relationships of the fragment to the whole. Each of the writers yearns for the whole and seeks to find it in the fragment that has meaning for him. And it is chiefly in art that Leo Bronstein finds both the fragment and the whole of life, "material and moral," to be seized and probed and prized. Indeed, in synthesizing the ideas expressed therein, Bronstein presents a brief but brilliantly illustrated history of the worlds of Western art.

This work, a book "of space" conceived amid the horrors of the Second World War, remains remarkably, unexpectedly, illuminatively contemporary. Prior to the contentious debates on multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural studies, Leo Bronstein's approach to life, metaphysics, and art was absolutely interdisciplinary, pluralistic in its themes and insights. A scholar who foresaw the globalization of our concerns, he provides the tools for an empathic understanding of the contributions of a myriad of cultures to the constellation of what has become a global consciousness.

The great Arthur Upham Pope, this century's foremost authority on the history and culture of Persia and Chancellor of the Asia Institute, termed Bronstein "original, penetrating, and poetic." "He spoke," says Meyer Schapiro, "with the confidence of a man who, when he referred to freedom and art, spoke like a prophet—without making predictions."

About the Author:

Leo Bronstein was professor of Fine Arts and Near Eastern Civilization at Brandeis University. Previously he served as associate professor and director of the Documentary Survey at the Asia Institute.

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Title: Fragments of Life, Metaphysics and Art
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