A Personal View of Jacob Bronowski’s “The Ascent of Man”

This series like that of Kenneth Clark is worth looking at once again. Naturally- very different in their approach.

Behind the Hedge

Here the great age opens. Physics becomes in those years the greatest collective work of science — no, more than that, the great collective work of art of the twentieth century.

J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, p. 330

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When I was twelve years old I watched a most remarkable television program. This program did not so much change my life — I was twelve, just barely conscious of a life as something my own — as it set the primary intellectual course of my life. My parents generously bought me the big book that was basically a transcript of the show. I have treasured that book for forty years.

I’ve recently finished a reread of Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man and I found it an exhilarating, inspiring experience again. But the sweetness is tempered by a sad and tragic bitterness on which I will touch. Bronowski’s gentle…

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