This enthralling study of the church of St. Agnes Outside the Walls brings to vivid life the stories, rituals, and architectural meaning contained within this seventeen-hundred-year-old building In The Geometry of Love, acclaimed author Margaret Visser, the preeminent "anthropologist of everyday life," takes on the living history of the ancient church of St. Agnes. Examining every facet of the building, from windows to catacombs, Visser takes readers on a mesmerizing tour of the old church, covering its social, political, religious, and architectural history. In so doing, she illuminates not only the church's evolution but also its religious legacy in our modern lives. Written as an antidote to the usual dry and traditional studies of European churches, The Geometry of Love is infused with Visser's unmatched warmth and wit, celebrating the remarkable ways that one building can reveal so much about our history and ourselves.
Known as an 'anthropologist of everyday life,' Margaret Visser has, in five award-winning books, uncovered and illuminated the intriguing and unexpected meanings of everyday objects and habits. Now she turns her keen eye to another custom so frequently encountered that it often escapes notice: saying 'Thank you.' What do we really mean by these two simple words? This fascinating inquiry into all aspects of gratitude ranges from the unusual determination with which parents teach their children to thank, to the difference between speaking the words and feeling them, to the ways different cultures handle the complex matters of giving, receiving, and returning favors and presents. Visser illuminates the fundamental opposition in our own culture between gift-giving and commodity exchange, and the similarities between gratitude and its opposite, vengefulness. The Gift of Thanks considers cultural history, including the modern battle of social scientists to pin down the notion of thankfulness and account for it, and the newly awakened scientific interest in the biological and evolutionary roots of emotions. With her engaging combination of curiosity and erudition, Visser once again reveals the extraordinary in the everyday.
"The book progresses like a feast. Read it, because you'll never look at a table knife the same way again." --The New York Times Book Review This award-winning work by Margaret Visser is a wry and remarkable exploration of the way we eat. Solidifying her standing as a preeminent observer and scholar of everyday life, Visser takes on the sweeping history of table manners, from the civilizations of ancient Greece and medieval Europe to the ancient Ainu people of Japan and the cannibalism of the South Pacific. She writes of the development of mealtime manners across societies, the surprising origins of tableware, and the many cultural idiosyncrasies that surround the preparation and consumption of food. Blending folklore, sociology, history, and humor, The Rituals of Dinner is a feast of beguiling fact and observation on the origins and evolution of one of our most primal rituals: the meal.
The beloved and bestselling "anthropologist of everyday life" turns her witty and insightful gaze to the oddities of living in our modern world Over the course of her time as a contributor and editor for Saturday Night magazine--a span during which she published her award-winning book The Rituals of Dinner--Margaret Visser specialized in thought-provoking columns capable of turning the banal into the extraordinary. From high heels to showers to the metamorphosis of Santa Claus, these essays span an eclectic and engrossing range of topics perfect for Visser fans and newcomers alike. With academic rigor and a warm narrative style, she takes commonplace facets of everyday life--crossword puzzles, fireplaces, paid time off--and digs into their peculiar origins and surprising social legacies. In examining some of the most ordinary elements of life, Visser sorts through historical facts and cultural implications to reveal the hidden assumptions behind our modern behavior.
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