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In Defence of Sensuality was first published in 1930. The author’s own foreword to the book is worth quoting in full:
‘The author feels that perhaps some explanation is due tot eh reader for the rather unusual employment of the ”Sensuality” which serves as the title of this work. The advantage given to the author by the use of this particular expression is that it enables him to proceed from rock-bottom upwards as far as he likes. A more refined title would have cut him off, in his method of developing his idea, from the physical roots of existence; for while it is easy to indicate the overtones and undertones of Sensuality it would be hard to bring a gentle, vague word, like the word ”sensuousness” down to the bare, stark, stoically-stripped Life-Sensation which is the subject of this book.
How far has the individual the right to be what is called ”selfish”? How far has he the right to concentrate on his own solitary awareness of existence and make this alone his life-purpose? Is there such a thing at all as a Religion of Nature or a Cosmic Ethic? Such are the questions the author attempts to answer; and he finds that in his discussion of the root-sensations of life the word Sensuality, taken in an unusually comprehensive sense, serves his purpose better than any other word.’
In Defence of Sensuality is one of the self-help books John Cowper Powys wrote that owe their genesis to the free-lance lecturing he did in America. In addition to this one, Faber Finds are reissuing The Meaning of Culture, A Philosophy of Solitude and The Art of Happiness.
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