The Age of Insight The Quest to Understand the Unconscious

A brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R Kandel The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900 where leaders in science medicine and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mindour conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotionsand how mind and brain relate to art At the turn of the century Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe Artists and scientists met in glittering salons where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology brain science literature and art Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace in rich and rewarding detail the ideas and advances made then and their enduring influence today The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900 Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols dreams and behavior Arthur Schnitzler revealed womens unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue Gustav Klimt Oscar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust desire anxiety and the fear of death Kandel tells the story of how these pioneersFreud Schnitzler Klimt Kokoschka and Schieleinspired by the Vienna School of Medicine in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology leading to revelations about how we see and perceive how we think and feel and how we respond to and create works of art Kandel one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time places these five innovators in the context of todays cutting edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt Kokoschka and Schiele as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900 The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written superbly researched and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual historyA brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R Kandel The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900 where leaders in science medicine and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mindour conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotionsand how mind and brain relate to art At the turn of the century Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe Artists and scientists met in glittering salons where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology brain science literature and art Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace in rich and rewarding detail the ideas and advances made then and their enduring influence today The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900 Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols dreams and behavior Arthur Schnitzler revealed womens unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue Gustav Klimt Oscar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust desire anxiety and the fear of death Kandel tells the story of how these pioneersFreud Schnitzler Klimt Kokoschka and Schieleinspired by the Vienna School of Medicine in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology leading to revelations about how we see and perceive how we think and feel and how we respond to and create works of art Kandel one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time places these five innovators in the context of todays cutting edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt Kokoschka and Schiele as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900 The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written superbly researched and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual historyA brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R Kandel The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900 where leaders in science medicine and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mindour conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotionsand how mind and brain relate to art At the turn of the century Vienna was the cultural capital of Europe Artists and scientists met in glittering salons where they freely exchanged ideas that led to revolutionary breakthroughs in psychology brain science literature and art Kandel takes us into the world of Vienna to trace in rich and rewarding detail the ideas and advances made then and their enduring influence today The Vienna School of Medicine led the way with its realization that truth lies hidden beneath the surface That principle infused Viennese culture and strongly influenced the other pioneers of Vienna 1900 Sigmund Freud shocked the world with his insights into how our everyday unconscious aggressive and erotic desires are repressed and disguised in symbols dreams and behavior Arthur Schnitzler revealed womens unconscious sexuality in his novels through his innovative use of the interior monologue Gustav Klimt Oscar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele created startlingly evocative and honest portraits that expressed unconscious lust desire anxiety and the fear of death Kandel tells the story of how these pioneersFreud Schnitzler Klimt Kokoschka and Schieleinspired by the Vienna School of Medicine in turn influenced the founders of the Vienna School of Art History to ask pivotal questions such as What does the viewer bring to a work of art? How does the beholder respond to it? These questions prompted new and ongoing discoveries in psychology and brain biology leading to revelations about how we see and perceive how we think and feel and how we respond to and create works of art Kandel one of the leading scientific thinkers of our time places these five innovators in the context of todays cutting edge science and gives us a new understanding of the modernist art of Klimt Kokoschka and Schiele as well as the school of thought of Freud and Schnitzler Reinvigorating the intellectual enquiry that began in Vienna 1900 The Age of Insight is a wonderfully written superbly researched and beautifully illustrated book that also provides a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities It is an extraordinary book from an international leader in neuroscience and intellectual history


10 thoughts on “The Age of Insight The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art Mind and Brain from Vienna 1900 to the Present

  1. says:

    The content is well sourced and was very obviously written by an expert The novel is about half neuroscience half art history and theory The parts about theory of art are skippable and are necessarily less objective than the parts about the brainOne thing that bothered me as I read it was the persistent Freudian angle in the writing This is not necessarily disqualifying but should make any attentive reader wary The auther clearly has the highest respect for Freud's ideas about the subconscious and its role in art and although he clarifies the by now outdated nature of Freud's psychiatric speculations and discloses the unscientific nature of the bulk of Freud's thought his eagerness to frame topics from a point of reference of Freud from Freud leads one to wonder to what extent one is being provided the best possible understanding of the truthAnyone looking to deepen their understanding of neurology perception and the history of fin de siecle Viennese art would cherish this book Anyone looking for a book about neuroscience alone would probably regret buying this book