'Living, Thinking, Looking,' by Siri Hustvedt Drawing on everything from her own experience of writing fiction and her struggles with insomnia and migraines to neuroscience, psychoanalytic theory and visual art, Hustvedt argues for the dynamic interconnections of memory and imagination. In one of the book's strongest pieces, "Three Emotional Stories," she deploys Augustine, William James, a scientific paper on bilateral hippocampal lesions and much more to explore the nature of memory and how it's transmuted in artistic creation. Writing ardently of a Zurburán still life, Hustvedt describes her reaction as "an active projection, or to use the psychoanalytic term, a form of transference of my memories and my lived past onto the painting." A brief meditation on ambiguity, another obvious candidate for exclusion, aims for poetic concision and comes perilously close to saying nothing at all. The piece "On Reading" begins with a Zen-like provocation ("Reading is perception as translation"), moves to a recollection of her young daughter learning to read, touches on neurophysiology and contains a contentious argument about the reading process, all within the first page and a half. Steven Winn is a freelance writer and regular host of City Arts & Lectures conversations.

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  • Living, Thinking, Looking (Paperback)
    Divided into three sections - Living, which draws on Siri's own life; Thinking, on memory, emotion and the imagination; and Looking, on art and artists - the essays range across the humanities and science as Siri explores how we see, remember, feel and ...
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  • Living, Thinking, Looking, by Siri Hustvedt
    A particular essay in Siri Hustvedt’s new collection Living, Thinking, Looking encapsulates much of what is equally intriguing and frustrating about her as an essayist. Called “Outside the Mirror,” the essay is a cogent reflection on self ...
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  • 'Living, Thinking, Looking,' by Siri Hustvedt
    "We don't just digest the world," writes Siri Hustvedt; "we make it." That's the animating idea in this wide-ranging, often insightful yet exasperating collection of essays on art and life by a writer best known for such novels as "The Sorrows of an ...
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  • Siri Hustvedt reveals her new book Living, Thinking, Looking
    "Don’t do anything you don’t really want to do,” my mother said as she drove me home from some class, meeting, or friend’s house I have long forgotten. I don’t remember anything else my mother said during our conversation, and I can’t say why ...
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  • Siri Hustvedt on Living, Thinking and Looking
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