ILLUSIONS by Andre Maurois


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Based on lectures composed for the Pegram Lecture series of Brookhaven National Laboratory, these three essays on the subject of ""Illusions"" were prepared just before the death of Andre Maurois in 1967. With a characteristic intellectual vigor, and delight in an orderly exploration, Maurois pursues ""illusion""--its nature and place in science and art. ""Man's illusions stem in major part from the fact that he projects his thoughts, his prejudices and his passions upon nature""--endemic to our condition. While science would attempt to eliminate illusion--and it can never keep pace with the multiplicity of nature--art deliberately, cultivates illusions. Art ""is a substitute for action when action is impossible""; art touches order upon ""anarchic nature""; art uncovers realities that we have not noticed; art merges ""contemplation and action."" The artist constructs the illusion of order: ""It is not the matter of the artist's seeing properly, but rather dreaming properly."" Throughout there is the vernal dynamism of a consciousness that celebrated the rapid coursing of the imagination, that imposed meaning and nobility upon a callous universe, as well as a cool Gallic logic. With a charming personal introduction by Jacques Barzun, and a more formally-structured foreword by Edouard Morot-Sir, this is a moving legacy to all students of Maurois and aesthetics. Fine and special.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1968
Publisher: Columbia University Press