Narcissus

An Anatomy of Clothes

by Gerald Heard

A Routledge reissue is now available in elegant hardback edition bound together with three additional titles by other authors.

Gerald Heard writes in 1924's Narcissus, "The thesis of this book is that evolution is going on no longer in but around the man, and the faster because working in a less resistant medium. Man becomes like a wireless valve, a transmitter which in the process immensely amplifies the current that he receives. When the Force that shaped all life evolved man, it seems that it kept him henceforward unspecialized, gave him, strangest of gifts, no vocation and equipment but, if not at one blow, freedom, innate opportunism. This was reserved for the favorite. To all the others their function and place."


In his first book, published as part of Routledge's "Today and Tomorrow" series, Heard weaves an absorbing historical narrative around the corresponding development of clothing and architecture. Along the way he introduces his seminal, revolutionary ideas on evolution, guaranteed to turn Darwin's world upside down. He declares, "Clothes were more important than was allowed," further noting, "It will become evident everywhere that we can trace in detail the connection of clothes and building, that change takes place first in the outer and so passes to the inner." Gerald Heard's unique survey stands the test of time as a fascinating work of originality and insight.


Reviews

Rev. Edmund Opitz

Narcissus contains the germs of many of the ideas developed at much greater length in subsequent volumes by Heard.

Time Magazine

...an interesting tour-de-force.
(Read the entire Time magazine review.)

Sir Horace Plunkett

A brilliant book.

Dr. William H. Forthman

In this pioneering study, full of unexpected insights, Gerald Heard shows that in clothes we are still witnessing creation at work.

Cover copy from the 1925 Dutton edition

It is a suggestive, thought-provoking, radical little book, in which the author, who has no respect for classical conventions, lays about him with right good will and high good humor.


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