Creation: Artists, gods & origins
Thames & Hudson, $75 hb, 592 pp
This book is a celebration of art that doubles as a critique of religion,’ writes Peter Conrad in the introduction to this enormous book. Neither aim is especially unusual, but their ambitious fusion here creates a questing mesh of narratives, huge in scope, in which architecture, music, literature, drama, motion pictures, poetry and philosophy in many schools and eras are gathered under the sprawling rubric of art, and no religious tradition is excluded. At times it feels as if you are reading a book about everything, and its restlessness carries you through thirty-three extremely solid, occasionally indigestible chapters, beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.