Sacks Close reading

Sacks Close reading - Professor Hand Expos Spring 2012...

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Professor Hand Expos Spring 2012 Practice for the Close Reading Assignment Text: Oliver Sacks, “The Mind’s Eye” In his last letter, Goethe wrote, “The Ancients said that the animals are taught through their organs; let me add to this, so are men, but they have the advantage of teaching their organs in return.” He wrote this in 1832, a time when phrenology was at its height, and the brain was seen as a mosaic of “little organs” sub-serving everything from language to drawing ability to shyness. Each individual, it was believed, was given a fixed measure of this faculty or that, according to the luck of his birth. Though we no longer pay attention, as the phrenologists did, to the “bumps” on the head (each of which, supposedly, indicated a brain-mind organ beneath), neurology and neuroscience have stayed close to the idea of brain fixity and location - the notion, in particular, that the
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