Sensory Experience of Perception


Important Books

I began this list as a compilation of books I think are important. I’ve expanded it to serve also as a bibliography on the topics in the website.

Ansel Adams, The Negative.

_____, The Print.

Robert AdamsBeauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values. 1981.

Friends of Photography, photographs by Robert Adams, Untitled 49, Road Trip. San Francisco, 1989. 

Marston Bates, The Forest and the Sea. 1960.

Bates describes the analogous nutrient cycles of tropical rain forests and coral reefs.

I encountered The Forest and the Sea in Herb Eder’s introductory cultural geography class my freshman year in college, shortly after having read, and been moved by, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Since my first reading of Bates’s book in 1964, 90% of the tropical forests then standing have been destroyed. 

Hans Belting, The Germans and their Art, a Troublesome  Relationship. 1998.

_____, The Disappearing Masterpiece.

_____, Florence and Bagdad: Renaissance Art and Arab Science.

_____, Hieronymus Bosch : Garden of Earthly Delights.

_____, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art. 1990.

Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialects of Seeing. 1989.

Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast. 1840, 1869.

I first began reading Two Years Before the Mast out of my childhood interest in sailing ships. What I encountered, instead, was an account of California as it was prior to the gold rush. I was fascinated by Dana’s descriptions of places with which I was familiar, as they had been over a hundred years before. I subsequently came across an edition containing an introductory chapter by the author recounting a trip to San Francisco he made, perhaps thirty years after his youthful voyage along the California coast. In that introduction Dana described the transformation of San Francisco into a major metropolis. 

Knowledge is Really Important

Gurdon Miller background image off

Books by or about Clarence Glacken

Clarence GlackenTraces on the Rhodian Shore. 1967.

Mr. Glacken introduced his students to the study of the history of ideas. He team-taught, with Paul Wheatley, Geography 100A and 100B, the two semester upper division class in geographic thought required of Berkeley Geography majors, and of those graduate students who came to Berkeley from other colleges and universities.

Had I not encountered these two individuals, from whom I took as many courses as I could, I doubt I would have remained in school. The content of their classes, and the intellectual breadth of their lectures and publications, kept me at Berkeley and continue to inspire me.

Glacken taught and wrote about the relationship between culture  and the environment. His book, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, is considered by many to be the most important environmental book written in the twentieth century.

Ravi Rajan, Adam Romero, Michael Watts, editors, Genealogies of Environmentalism: the Lost Works of Clarance Glacken2017.

Serge Guilbert, How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom, and the Cold War. 1983.

Susan LandauerThe San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism. 1996.

Erle LoranCezanne’s Composition: Analyses of His Form with Diagrams and Photographs of his Motifs. 1943.

George Lichtheim,  George Lukcás. Viking, 1970.

George Perkins MarshMan and Nature, or Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. 1864.

Joachim PissarroPioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne & Pissarro 1865 – 1885. 2005.

Peter Selz, German Expressionist Painting. 1957.

Ewe Steiner, Walter Benjamin: an Introduction to His Work and Thoughts (2004 in German, 2010 in English).

Uwe Steiner gives a description of Benjamin’s discussion of Critique of Pure Reason, in which Benjamin quotes Kant to the effect, “ ... ‘that all speculative knowledge is limited to objects of experience,’ and that we can have knowledge of things only insofar as they present themselves as objects of sensory perception, that is, as tangible phenomena.”

Benjamin B. Stout,  editor, Forests in the Here and Now, A Collection of writings of Hugh Miller Raup. 1981.

If we want to preserve and shepherd the earth's natural systems, we should know what we’re talking about. We should also know what people with whose ideas we disagree have to say.

This book is an interrogation by Raup of the validity of the concept of ecological climax, and how best to manage and conserve natural resources. The author questions an environmentalistic  justification for nature conservation. It took me a while to realize that, while convincingly written, Raup’s arguments were not based on scientific forestry, but, instead, reflected the author’s preference for the mythology of Adam Smith over the findings of scientific research.

Books by or about Edward Weston 

California and the West. Charis Wilson and Edward Weston.

Through Another Lens. Charis Wilson and Wendy Mador.

The Daybooks of Edward Weston.

The Cats of Wildcat Hill. Charis Wilson.

Paul WheatleyPivot of the Four Quarters: A Prelininary Enquiry into the Origins and Character of the Ancient Chinese City. 1971.

This is a modest title for a book that in the course of describing the origins of Chinese cities, provides a comparative history of the independent invention of the city at those locations where the earliest cities originated. Wheatley makes a persuasive argument that cities began as sacred ceremonial centers rather than as locations of economic activity.

When I read Pivot of the Four Quarters I was surprised and delighted to discover that much of the book’s content had been covered in Mr. Wheatley’s class lectures.

____. City as Symbol, Inaugural Lecture, University Lecture. University College, London 20 November, 1967 

____. The Places Where Men Pray Together: Cities in Islamic Lands Seventh through the Tenth Centuries. 2001.

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