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The Secret Life of Puppets (Anglais) Broché – 5 décembre 2003


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Book by Nelson Victoria


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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Must Read 4 août 2009
Par Benjamin D. Steele - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book is one of the best I've ever read. My copy is heavily underlined and well-thumbed. There are few authors that connect the topics she does in the way she does it, and there are even fewer who do so with such insight. It's a hard book to describe as it includes much: puppets and humanity, reality and imagination, philosophy and religion, film and fiction, high and low culture. It's a fairly large book at around 300 pages of text and also there are useful notes in the back. Even though her ideas may be above the head of the average person, her writing style is easy to follow. If you're a somewhat curious and minimally intelligent person, then what you'll probaby enjoy about this book is learning new ideas and discovering new authors. I'm very well read and I came across a number of things I'd never heard of.

Two topics Victoria Nelson covers that are of particular interest to me are Gnosticism and Noir. If you like these topics, then another book you'd like is Eric G. Wilson's The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines and Secret Cinema: Gnostic Vision in Film. Wilson is directly influenced by Nelson. There aren't many books that look at the religious aspects of Noir, but another one is Thomas S. Hibbs Arts of Darkness: American Noir and the Quest for Redemption. Somewhat oddly, a major connection for these authors is that they all discuss Philip K. Dick who is a favorite author of mine. Dick was mainly a fiction writer, but also wrote non-fiction about what it is to be human in terms of philosophy, religion, and science (in particular the subjects of Gnosticism and androids). If you read Philip K. Dick's non-fiction, it will give you a richer perspective on the meeting of high and low culture (which is an emphasis of Nelson and Wilson)and on the dark quest for redemption (which all of these authors touch upon). Two Philip K. Dick books I'd recommend are The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings and In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from the Exegesis. If you want a clear overview of Philip K. Dick's philsophical and religion thoughts, then you should read Pink Beams of Light from the God in the Gutter: The Science-Fictional Religion of Philip K. Dickby Gabriel McKee.

Some of Nelson's best insights revolve around the notions of imagination and reality, sanity and insanity (which are typical Philip K. Dick topics in both his fiction and non-fiction). This is where she discusses various genre writers (for example, Poe, Lovecraft, Schultz and Kafka) and where she explores the connection between psychology, spirituality and creativity. If you're intellectually fascinated by imagination and creativity, then there are some truly awesome books out there that would give even greater context to the already large context that Victoria Nelson provides. I'd guess that much of the groundwork for Nelson's thinking comes from the Jungian tradition of thinkers and she references Carl Jung a number of times (but she also discuses Freud). If you're interested in further reading about the imagination, then check out these other books: Dream & the Underworld by James Hillman, Imagination Is Reality: Western Nirvana in Jung, Hillman, Barfield, and Cassirer by Roberts Avens, Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld by Patrick Harpur, and The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen.

Besides my mentioning a number of related books, I'd consider The Secret Life of Puppets to be very unique. There are many books out there about these kinds of topics, but she brings it together in a very compelling way. These ideas easily could've become lost in abstract intellectuality if handled by a lesser writer.
18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Spins a common thread through esoteric interests 30 juin 2002
Par D. Pautler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
If you have bookshelves at home covering sci-fi/fantasy/horror, mythology, AI, psychology, alchemy, animation, and semiotics, and know them only as "things I'm interested in" without being aware of any other common thread, Victoria Nelson just might convince you that you are interested in those things for the same reason she is, and that people throughout history have been: you are mapping a geography of human imagination, taking a journey that you can't help but pursue. Although the book is structured as a history of ideas, there's an autobiography being told, too, about a precocious, sensitive kid fleeing grad school to Hawaii (just as I did) only to return years later "to finish the PhD thesis I never wrote". Along the way, you'd find many great books and films you may never have heard of.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ground down 17 mai 2002
Par Thane Plambeck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is a book that at times reads a bit like a Ph.D. thesis, but's it really much better than that.
If you've ever entertained the idea that popular films such as The Matrix, or TV shows (X-Files) might be saying something interesting about ideas in today's world at some deeper level, but you're not really sure what it is, this is the book to read. Nelson shows how Robocop, the Terminator and so on are just the latest puppets standing in for a certain way of thinking about the world, even a 'religious' way of thinking, that in fact is very ancient in Western society. It's been driven into eclipse by our modern, scientific, and materialistic society, but becomes strangely ascendant the moment we walk into a movie theatre, read a Stephen King novel, or listen to a conversation about an 'interesting' movie at the water cooler. Why? Well, buy Nelson's book.
I could imagine this book being misread as an attack on conventional religion, but it really has nothing to do with that. I could also imagine that some readers, not accustomed to slogging their way through terms such as 'Platonism', 'demiurge,' and so on, might miss out on finer moments in Nelson's work, when she casts off the robes of the academic (which don't really suit her, anyway) and speaks in plain language about her ideas.
In any case, this is a fine book well worth a careful reading in my opinion.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
High vs. Low Art 4 novembre 2005
Par John Conner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Overall Victoria Nelson has written a fine book. I was particularly interested in her Chapter on the American Fantastic Mode, and her excellent description of the difference, historically and currently, between European and American High Literature (Art). Where European high culture has embraced The Fantastic, in America the Genre has been delegated to comic books, murder mysteries, ghost stories, love-based romances, and recently, science fiction. Nelson points out that American literary icons such as Hawthorne or Fitzgerald only occasionally ventured into non-realism as "entertainments" leaving "fantasy" mostly for the pulp fiction mongers. She also seems to feel the "lower" form of fiction have been unjustly disparaged. Although the intent seems to be academic, Nelson's prose style renders THE SECRET LIFE OF PUPPETS more of a pleasure read than a textbook.
12 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Demons, Fairies, and Truth Crushed to Earth will Rise Again 28 janvier 2002
Par holly hunt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This book is amazing. The most fascinating book of nonfiction I have read in 10 years. It will definitely develop a strong cult audience, although the author/scholar maintains a truly balanced and studious examination of the phenomenon at the heart of the book. This is one of those books that will almost make the nonfiction bestseller list, if nobody in marketing pushes it. If they want to push it -- well, I can imagine all the die-hard realists who will foam at the mouth. But they are a pretty fuddy-duddy bunch of worn-out hasbeens anyhow, and you will see why when you sink your teeth into this one.
This book answers a lot of serious and critical questions concerning the transcendental imagination and its underestimated and ignored role in our pragmatic culture. If you have often thought that the Academics who rule the roost (and the brain-washed editors who determine which novels will and will not be nominated for the Pulitzer) have lost their pathway to the great darkness which holds volumes of helpful and fairly eternal light, Victoria Nelson will put place your nearly correct, incomplete thoughts into a realm of rich and understandable meaning.
This book is a well-thought out prophesy of the richer literature to come. Prepare to enter the unexplainable, miraculous, demonic realms of subject matter upheld as most significant by Platonic thinkers, who are by far more adventurous than that other bunch.
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