May 2011

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More on the Pointing Finger

READER SAM’S REFERENCE, in a comment on the previous post, to the biblical story of Adam naming the animals lends thrust to Tallis’ argument on—for lack of a better term—the metaphysics of pointing. Bestarium, Latin (late 12th C.) // The Genesis narrative distills into a simple, vivid anecdote the substanceN of Raymond Tallis’ thesis in Michelangelo’s Finger. The mythical Adam could hardly identify every beast of the field or fowl of the air. He did not emerge from the dust of creation a systematic taxonomist on the qui vive for all that tagging and classifying. Continue Reading
Michelangelo's Finger

ORDAINED ART APPRECIATORS are, in the main, a predictable tribe. Often enough, the freshest and most intellectually satisfying comments on art from outside the expected punditariat. Michelangelo’s Finger: An Exploration of Everyday Transcendence, by Raymond Tallis, is an engaging, erudite excursion into what it means to be human. Tallis, a professor emeritus of geriatric medicine at the University of Manchester and one of Britain’s finest public intellectuals, offers as a guide the human forefinger. He does so with all the wit and eloquence of the poet, novelist and philosopher that he is also. Continue Reading