Touch: An Essay Hardcover – 2 Sep 1996
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Asking how it is possible to feel at home in the world, given that the world is independent of and indifferent to our wishes, this text draws on books, films and cultural history to argue that we can feel comfortable in the world and in relationships with others only if we value touch over sight.
About the Author
Gabriel Josipovici is professor of English in the School of European Studies, University of Sussex and in Autumn 1996 visiting professor of comparative literature at Oxford.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 1 reviews
Touch and Go
25 December 2008 - Published on Amazon.com
3 people found this helpful.
I ran across the author in a recent article in the TLS which I liked a lot. "Touch" is not new; it was published in 1996, but the title caught my eye, and I wanted to read something more substantial by this author. Evidently, the author has been around, but I have just recently discovered him. He has the range of George Steiner, one of my favorites for years. This author has Steiner's erudition but his background is less easily identified. In this book he refers to having had a childhood in Egypt, I believe, but from there it is less clear what he has been up to, although the book's jackets says he is a full professor in England. Be that as it may, my point is that unlike Steiner, Josipovici has a less obviously identifiable focus. Steiner, a Viennese Jew, is Holocaust haunted, while Josipovici seems more focused on pre-Modern literary concerns. The author's thesis is that it is through touch that we fully imagine the world, not as one might think, through sight, especially in light of our modern obsession with viewing and watching. He plays off of expressions such as "I'm touched" and one's being "out of touch," and so on, to make his points. The Yale text is nicely illustrated with paintings. The author concentrates on authors such as Dante, Dostoevski, and Chaucer, but ranges widely from Charlie Chaplin to Rembrandt. Oddly enough, I didn't find the piece especially compelling, but it may be that the author simply left me behind.