JB: I wrote a book called the Identity of Man. I never saw the cover of the English edition until the book reached me in print. And yet the artist had understood exactly what was in my mind, by putting on the cover a drawing of the brain and the Mona Lisa, one on top of the other

Bruno - A Personal View

by Rita Bronowski

IT WAS AS A SCULPTOR that I lured the young Bruno to my studio to pose for me.

He was glad to have the excuse to pose but found it boring and asked for a thick book. I had a collection of William Blake, complete with the prophetic books, on the shelf. he settled into this with some misgivings. Like many people he thought of Blake as an accentric and a mystical, otherworldly character. At this reading he had sudden insight into the heart of the man, whom he saw to be a true man of his time, a real revolutionary. Bruno rushed off to research the newspapers of the time and wrote a breakthrough book called William Blake, A Man without a Mask which has had a strong effect on the manner in which William Blake is viewed today.

Bruno and I were married bright and early one Monday morning in 1941 during a daylight air raid on London. We lived in Hull for a short time until we were moved to more secret places because of his war work

He was an extraordinarily whole person and his thinking had a consistency unusual in these times. he was a thinking man, an endangered species. All his life he treated art and science as the same expression of the human imagination. The theme of the imagination ran like a bright ribbon through the fabric of his thought.

Bruno dedicated his life to the dissemination of knowledge and truth, first as a schoolteacher and then in ever-widening circles as a broadcaster in radio, then television. As a very young man he would travel miles every week to outlying villages in England to give what were called Workers Educational Association lectures. Quite literally, he would travel through snow and fog to village halls to speak to 8 or 10 people who had equally braved the elements. I sometimes would think it a pity that there were not hundreds there to hear him. Little did I imagine that with radio and then television he would in fact finally reach millions.

He was a warm and witty man, easy to love.

Source: Leonardo Vol.18(4), p.223, 1985

The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski

Copyright © 1999 by Stephen Moss. All rights reserved.