The great shame about this book is that it is a little wordy in places; a good deal of editing and fine tuning would have made this fascinating and revealing book truly a work of genuis. As it is, it typifies a traditionally academic approach to scholarship from which it occasionally wrestles free to provide the reader with moments of real, valuable insights. Yates's book is hard to classify, for it covers so much ground, from ancient Greek influence, Kabbalistic thought in the middle ages, to the man Yates made her life's study, Giordano Bruno. However, what really is at stake here is the relationship between the "arts" and "science" (in both its conventional and etymological meaning.)
This book really ought to be read by the philosophers of mind, cognitive scientists and neurobiologists who are seeking to explain mental phenomenon, for it manages to distill the at times quite pertinent thoughts the medieval thinkers proposed about how we use our minds, and how we relate to the world through art and through language, in a way many more recent, and thus more "rigorous", treatments of the topic often cast aside. Yates seems to propose that the advent of Newtonian physics may be indirectly connected to a more spiritualist approach to the world which is now neglected in the abstracting drive of many sciences.
Although it is a tough read at times, it is very rewarding. It is the sort of book which restores one's belief in the value of true scholarship despite all its flaws.