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What is the heart? We know it as not only the beating thing in our chests that sustains life, but as the wellspring of all faith, hope, and love. In this remarkable book, critically acclaimed author Gail Godwin takes us on a breathtaking journey that spans the history of human civilization, combining myth, art and religion to understand how humans have conceived of the heart through time. From the first valentine to the first stethoscope, from the Ancient Egyptians to the Buddha, from the heart of darkness to heart-to-heart talks, Godwin weaves her own stories of heartbreak and hope through it all.
Inspired by the richest of lore, Godwin ultimately arrives at what every culture must discover anew: we cannot let the head alone rule our lives. In this colorful history of the organ of life itself, she discovers a template for a more heart-filled life.
Gail Godwin is the author of ten novels, three of which were nominated for National Book Awards. A Southern Family and Father Melancholy's Daughter were both NYT bestsellers and Main Selections of the Book of the Month Club. She has been translated into 12 languages. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and letters. She holds a doctorate in Modern Letters from the University of Iowa and has taught in the Iowa writers Workshop, Vassar and Columbia. A native of Asheville, N.C., she now lives in Woodstock, N.Y.