Synopses & Reviews
The introduction of this book reads, "Beauty, like every other quality courage, fear, ugliness, trust, truth, wisdom is a part of us and apart from us, inside us and outside us, personal and impersonal. Beauty invites us to build bridges and make connections between the senses and the soul, between contemplation and expression, between ourselves and the world."
In this wide-ranging and deeply felt book, artist and writer J. Ruth Gendler invites us to reclaim and celebrate the often misunderstood quality of beauty as one of the most profound and essential forces in our lives. Drawing upon observations from art and mythology, science and nature, contemporary culture and personal experience, the author looks at her subject in its most generous implications not simply as a reflection of surface and image, but as a pathway to wholeness, integrity, coherence, and ultimately, to love. Written with curiosity, courage, a discerning eye and a lyrical sensibility, and illustrated with evocative line drawings by the author, Notes on the Need for Beauty displays the strong personal voice that has made her previous book, The Book of Qualities so beloved. It is a work to savor and to share.
Notes on the Need for Beauty
is an artist's reflection on the complex nature of beauty and our unique relationship to it. In this lyrical and lively exploration of the soulful aspects of beauty, Gendler describes how beauty gives meaning and purpose to our lives. She makes a plea for our fast-paced, progress-driven society to slow down, to reflect and to engage the senses, so that we can begin to cultivate and nurture the beauty around us. To be deprived of beauty is to be deprived of our essence, Gendler says, but to be reminded of beauty is to become awake.
For the most part our culture trivializes beauty, assigning it to picture-perfect women and places, not recognizing its deeper and more healing aspects. Beauty and its sister qualities of inspiration, delight, and harmony become lost in the frantic materialism and efficiency of our time. Notes on the Need for Beauty celebrates beauty in the human and natural world. It includes artistic, spiritual, ecological and cross-cultural perspectives.
About the Author
Janet Ruth Gendler wears orange socks, arranges her clothes by color in the closet, keeps the herbs in alphabetical order, and doesn't understand the separation between work and play. Gendler was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and received B.A.'s in English and Communication from Stanford University in 1977. She has written articles on the arts, health, and education. She works in publishing and teaches intuitive art classes. Gendler currently lives in Berkeley, California.