1998-08-08: The Creators

The Creators

A History of Heroes of the Imagination (1992)

by Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004)

This book is full of raw material for memetics. It identifies the stages of development of many types of creative arts: drama, poetry, dance, music, architecture, and several genres of prose writing. Boorstin includes a large annotated bibliography.

On pp 226-227, he says of Aristotle’s work on rhetoric:

Surveying the numerous textbooks, he regretted that the subject had been narrowed by too much attention to law-court rhetoric and too little to political rhetoric, where larger issues were debated, and to the arts of persuasion in daily life. Rhetoric, he said, was not a science, for it had no special subject matter. But the arts of persuasion, he insisted, were needed by everybody. In our time they go by the names of Public Relations and Advertising.

I wonder what Aristotle would say about modern spin-doctoring.

On the title page for Part Three, Creating the Self, Boorstin has selected the epigram:

Creativity: a type of learning where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual. – Arthur Koestler (1964)

There is a great deal of information, and much suggestive commentary, on a very wide range of topics. I did not read every chapter, but expect to dip further into the work occasionally.

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