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["The New Clarity: Clear thinking in the 90s".
Barnes, Michael. Austin American-Statesman.
Sunday, August 11, 1996. Page E12.]

'The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit'

by Frederick Turner
(Free Press, 1995)

This most eloquent of the New Clarity books blends the elegance of science with profound truths about religion and the arts. Turner, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, highly decorated poet and NASA consultant, sometimes veers into parables (not surprising for an author of science fiction).

Yet he returns to central themes: Biology hardwires hope; much of avant-garde theory is an invitation to despair; neuroscientists (with Turner's help) are discovering hard evidence of identifiers for beauty in the brain's core. He thinks demands for complete artistic freedom do not guarantee great art. He thinks a verifiable human nature exists, and therein lies our freedom, expressed in a "natural classicism." He argues against "nature-culture dualism," "the feminist myth of patriarchy" and the "myth of the oppressive West."

For the arts, Turner predicts a return to representation, melody, poetic meter, narrative and other elements universally pleasing. Beauty, far from being in the eye of the beholder alone, is "a reality in itself."

...FT End.


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