Proust Was a Neuroscientist
Taking a group of artists - a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists - Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the mind that science is only now rediscovering. We learn, for example, how Proust first revealed the fallibility of memory; how George Eliot discovered the brain's malleability; how the French chef Escoffier identified umami (the fifth taste); how Cezanne worked out the subtleties of vision; and how Gertrude Stein exposed the deep structure of language - a full half-century before the work of Noam Chomsky and other linguists. It's the ultimate tale of art trumping science.
More broadly, Lehrer shows that there's a cost to reducing everything to atoms and acronyms and genes. Measurement is not the same as understanding, and this is what art knows better than science. A blend of biography, criticism, and science writing. Proust Was a Neuroscientist urges science and art to listen more closely to each other, for willing minds can combine the best of both, to brilliant effect.