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Looking Upwards: Stars in Ancient and Medieval Cultures
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Authors: Piero Boitani (Sapienza University of Rome, Professor of Comparative Literature, Roma, Italy) 
Book Description:
This book recounts the exciting tale of human beings’ relationship with the stars. It covers that tale from prehistory and antiquity to the Middle Ages, going as far as the year 1400 CE, the year of Geoffrey Chaucer’s death in England. This volume is not an astronomy textbook, nor a history of astronomy. It is a book that intends to explore, or present, the image of the stars that, throughout history, humanity constructed for itself: the image, that is, as it was transmitted through literature, the visual arts, and music. In doing so, it was of course impossible to avoid those frequent and fruitful moments when the arts encountered science, philosophy, and religion. Looking Upwards is the result of this constant historical interweaving.

The lodestar for this book was the search for cosmic poetry, for beauty, and for the sublime – for the enthusiasm and the terror that writers, painters, and composers of all ages and continents have directed towards the stars. From the dawn of human civilization to the end of the fourteenth century, Looking Upwards traces the human passion for the cosmos – in chronological order and West to East geographic movement – from Paleolithic caves to Egyptian pyramids, in Ur of the Chaldees (from where Abraham came), in classical Greece and Rome, from medieval Europe to Persia, India, China and Japan. Domes of Heaven in Constantinople and Ravenna, in Jerusalem and Granada, star vaults and mosaics, frescoes and stone engravings appear all over the planet. The music of the spheres resonates from Pythagoras to Shakespeare, from the songs of Native Americans to those of the Australian Aborigines. Homer’s poetry influences Virgil, Boethius inspires Dante, the Bible and Arabic literature are reflected in the work of Shelomoh Ibn Gabirol, ‘Omar Khayyâm and Hâfez find a new life in Edward Fitzgerald and Goethe, the Râmâyana reverberates in Kâlidâsa, and Du Fu finds companionship in Japanese haikus. Looking Upwards is a book of world literature, because people all over the world can sing, with the Abenaki of North America: We Are the Stars Who Sing. (Imprint: Nova)

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Table of Contents:
Preface

Note on Texts, Translations, and Editions

Introduction (pp. 1-14)

Chapter 1: At the Beginning (pp. 13-32)

Chapter 2: The Morning Stars (pp. 33-44)

Chapter 3: Stars of the Empire (pp. 45-58)

Appendix A (pp. 59-68)

Chapter 4: The Ways of the Dark Night (pp. 69-82)

Chapter 5: From Dream to Apocalypse (pp. 83-90)

Chapter 6: Divinity, Life, Perfume: The Music and Dance of the Spheres (pp. 91-102)

Chapter 7: The Music of the Spheres (pp. 103-114)

Chapter 8: The Vaults of Heaven (pp. 115-124)

Appendix B (pp. 125-146)

Chapter 9: Caelatum: Creation and Chiseling (pp. 147-164)

Chapter 10: Flaming Cusps (pp. 165-178)

Chapter 11: Black Brocade (pp. 179-196)

Chapter 12: The Beauty of Lakes (pp. 197-210)

Chapter 13: Snow White (pp. 211-232)

Chapter 14: We Are the Stars Who Sing (pp. 233-246)

Appendix C (pp. 247-266)

Chapter 15: Sparks and Embers (pp. 267-282)

Chapter 16: From Eternal Nymphs to Beautiful Stars (pp. 283-302)

Chapter 17: Blissful Light, Clear Beams (pp. 303-314)

Bibliography (pp. 315-320)

Index of Names (pp. 321)

Total Pages: 326

   Series:
      Contemporary Cultural Studies (Series Editor, Joseph J. Pilotta, Algis Mickunas, John W. Murphy, The Ohio State University, and etc.)
   Binding: Hardcover
   Pub. Date: 2017 - 4th Quarter
   Pages: 6x9 - (NBC-C)
   ISBN: 978-1-53610-330-4
   Status: AV
  
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
  
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Looking Upwards: Stars in Ancient and Medieval Cultures