Dreaming by the Book
Elaine Scarry


Dreaming by the Book explores the almost miraculous processes by which poets and writers teach us the work of imaginative creation. Writers from Homer to Heaney instruct us in the art of mental composition, even as their poems progress. Just as painters understand paint, composers musical instruments, and sculptors stone or metal, verbal artists understand the only material in which their creations will get made--the back-lit tissue of the human brain. In her brilliant synthesis of literary criticism, philosophy, and cognitive psychology, Elaine Scarry explores the principal practices by which writers bring things to life for their readers.

Elaine Scarry is Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics at Harvard University. Her many writings include On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton) and The Body In Pain (1986).