Books

As of January, 2009, I have written 29 books.  They are listed below.  Press CTRL-F (FUNCTION-F on Macs) to search for books by keywords.

If a book is linked, it is available for purchase at Amazon.com.  Please support my work and write a review of my book; I am not charging for works not under copyright or through a publisher, so please donate via the easy method of using Paypal through the button on the right!

  • Deep Sea Fish (poetry). Santa Barbara, California: Unicorn Press, 1968. [Buy at Amazon]
  • Shakespeare and the Nature of Time (criticism). Oxford: Oxford UP, 1971. [Buy at Amazon]

    This book, a revised and expanded version of Fred’s Oxford dissertation, shows through close analysis of Shakespeare’s poems and plays that he had a coherent philosophy of the nature of time, in which human moral purposes were at odds with the entropic and deterministic features of physical time and with social institutions based on a reduction of human motivations to such features. J.T. Fraser, the founder of the International Society for the Study of Time, invited Fred to contribute to the Society on the basis of this book.

  • Between Two Lives (poetry). Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan UP, 1972. [Buy at Amazon]

    Fred Turner’s first full length book of poetry. Though it is partly in the form Fred inherited from his times, the free verse existentialist autobiographical lyric, its second half has already begun to break with those traditions and uses metrical forms and complex narrative devices. Fred’s philosophical tendency is already in evidence.

  • Romeo and Juliet (critical edition of Shakespeare’s play). London: London UP, 1974. [Unavailable]

    A student edition of the play, whose introduction emphasizes the differences btween the psychology and spiritual ethics of the old and the young, especially with respect to how they perceive time.

  • A Double Shadow (science fiction). New York: Berkeley/Putnam, 1978. (Also published in England by Dutton, in French by Denoel, and Japanese by Sanrio) [Buy at Amazon]
    Fred’s only published novel (as of 1997; there also exists an unpublished novel, The Sunstone, a thriller set in Africa). A Double Shadow is set on Mars 1,300 years in the future, and describes a future human society of immortals, of three sexes and endowed with godlike physical and mental powers. Their values do not include moral or ethical ones, but are based on strict aesthetic rules that are constantly being refined through competition. The ethos of the novel strongly recalls the Heian Japan of Lady Murasaki’s novel Genji and the aesthetic, performative values of the Balinese as described by Clifford Geertz. In this book Turner discovered the absolute necessity for morality by noting the deficiencies of a purely aesthetic culture that lacked an ethical and moral awareness.
  • Counter-Terra (poetry). Goleta, California: Christopher’s Books, 1978. [Buy at Amazon]

    These poems, whose entire first printing was destroyed in a California brush fire, are mainly free verse narratives often surreal in mood, though there are also some shorter narrative, philosophical, and lyric poems in formal meter. They emphasize the heroic independence of fictions from the constraints of the real world.

  • The Return (long poem). Woodstock, Vermont: Countryman Press, 1981. [Buy at Amazon]

    A long narrative poem that nostalgically recalls the ‘sixties, tracing the adventures of two reporters, male and female, who are caught up in the chaos following the fall of Saigon, and captured by Cambodian drug lords; they escape into China, spend time in a communist commune, are released into Burma where they experience enlightenment in a Buddhist monastery, and finally return to America. The poem, composed in a loose five-stress line, seeks a way for America to recover from the cultural wounds suffered in the period, and looks toward the end of modernism.

  • The New World (epic poem). Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985. [Buy at Amazon]

    Fred Turner’s first poem conceived as an epic (it is probably better described as a romance with epic overtones, like Tasso’s Jerusalem Liberated or The Fairy Queene). Set in the Ohio Valley four hundred years in the future, it recounts the Parsifal-like story of the hero James George Quincy and the heroine Ruth McCloud, her father Shaker McCloud, the Black general Anthony Manse, and the sinister Simon Raven. James Quincy leads a confederation of county-sized independent Jeffersonian republics to victory after they have been invaded by a jihad of Appalachian religious fundamentalists. The poem is a meditation on the mysterious power of goodness when united with a full Nietzschean awareness of the gamelike rules of any moral system.

  • The Garden (poems and aphorisms). Algonac, Michigan: Ptyx Press, 1985. [Buy at Amazon]

    Some people regard this as Fred’s finest work. It embodies the paradise-like experience Fred enjoyed during his fifth year in Ohio, when he was building a house and garden, reading deeply in science, theology, philosophy, nineteenth and twentieth century fiction, and poetry, and awaiting the birth of his second son, Victor Benjamin Turner. Here the core of Fred’s cosmology, psychology, ethics, and social philosophy, founded deeply on the theory of evolution, is first tentatively explored. At first Fred was not interested in publishing this book, nor did he believe that it could be published, as it so completely rejected the poststructuralist and late modernist theory of the time. A friend, Edwin Watkins, published it, partly at his own personal expense.

  • Natural Classicism: Essays on Literature and Science (interdisciplinary studies). New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1986. Reprinted in paperback UP of Virginia, 1991. [Buy at Amazon]
    The first of five books outlining in prose the ideas discovered in The Garden and The New World. It contains several essays that have been reprinted many times, including The Neural Lyre: Poetic Meter, the Brain, and Time, which summarizes Fred’s pathbreaking research on the cultural universality and neuroevolutionary foundations of poetic meter, and which has spawned a whole field of audiology and infant brain research. This essay won the Levinson Poetry Prize, and also helped form the intellectual core of the New Formalist movement in American poetry.
  • Genesis: An Epic Poem. Dallas: Saybrook Publishing Co., 1988. [Buy at Amazon]

    This poem is a true epic in form and style. Composed in iambic pentameter, it is exactly 10,000 lines long, and tells of the transformation of Mars into a planet habitable by human beings and Earthly lifeforms. The preface claims that it was not composed by Fred Turner but communicated to him in part by a future poet on a timeline that may not be realized. Genesis is, however, a full expression of Fred Turner’s metaphysics, scientific philosophy, and theology, as well as being an action-packed science fiction narrative of war, family inheritance, betrayal, and gigantic technological achievement. It is something of a cult book in space research circles, and has led to invitations to speak and consult by NASA and the international space science association, COSPAR. It was the subject of a successful master’s thesis by Curtis Carbonell at Clemson University.

    An excerpt from Genesis is available.

  • Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education (essays). Albany: SUNY Press, 1991. [Buy at Amazon]

    The second of Fred’s four prose statements of his philosophical principles. The essay on Beauty is the most succinct version of his neuroevolutionary/chaos theory system of aesthetics; the essays on environmentalism have become classics in the fields of landscape architecture and ecological restoration; the essays on performative pedagogy are now being used in a variety of disciplines, including Asian Studies and Performance Studies; the essay on Virginia Woolf’s “immortal conversation” won the Missouri Review Essay Prize; the essay on the human sciences may have been the first application of chaos theory to social and historical studies, and broke new ground in the field of sociology. Originally titled Reconstructive Postmodernism, this book reluctantly abandons the term “postmodern” as an accurate name for the new era; eventually Fred settled for “natural classicism” as his preferred term.

  • Tempest, Flute, and Oz: Essays on the Future. New York: Persea Books, 1991. [Buy at Amazon]
    [Cover of _Tempest, Flute, and Oz_] The third in the series of books outlining Fred Turner’s theoretical discoveries, this book turns to social, cultural and economic issues arising from the birth of a new age to replace modernism. This book shows how, while in some ages the present creates the future by breaking the shackles of the past, in the new era the past will create the future by breaking the shackles of the present. Its essay on artificial intelligence has been influential in neural network research, and its essay on angels has been reprinted several times.
  • Beauty: The Value of Values (monograph). University of Virginia: UP of Virginia, 1991. [Buy at Amazon]

    A monograph on the neurophysiology, evolution, cosmology and psychology of beauty, this book summarizes the aesthetic theory that he believes will energize the new era that is to come. There is special attention to the evolutionary role of shame, chaos/complexity/nonlinearity elements in aesthetic experience, and the neuroanatomy of beauty–which is now being used as a source of hypotheses for MRI brain research.

  • April Wind (poems). University of Virginia: UP of Virginia, 1991. [Buy at Amazon]
    This collection of short poems written during the 1980s explores a connected group of ideas, feelings, and themes on the experience of beauty.  A leader of the New Formalism movement, Turner has said that “meter is no limitation to a poet, but a liberation”.  The strict metrical forms of the poems in April Wind illustrates this position.  Written while Turner researched the poetic and neurobiological principles he set forth in Beauty: The Value of Values, these passionate and lyrical poems show a variety of moods, voices, and worlds. Turner’s poetry embodies the intuition that the human experience of beauty is both ancient and universal. Beauty, he believes, emerged from genetic-cultural coevolution and is part of the awakening of the cosmos. Turner’s work on poetic meter helped to reveal that the three-second line is universal among human cultures, that it is mediated by neurochemical rewards, and that it is in tune with the three-second acoustic information processing pulse in the human brain. The poems in April Wind celebrate the birth and the experience of Turner’s discoveries about the nature of beauty. In his own words, the poems deal with “the nature of beauty itself and the recognition of a universal process of emergent orderliness, a chaotic but self-organizing evolution; the cosmic teleology implied by the anthropic principle in physics; the emergence of value and meaning out of sensory experience; marriage, and its joyful-shameful juxtaposition of animal and spiritual; the connection between beauty and shame; the pain of personal self-consciousness; the problem of death; and the nature of the passage through karmic attachment, sexuality, shame, and death to the mystical experience of beauty”.
  • Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklos Radnoti (translations with Zsuzsanna Ozsvath). Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992. [Buy at Amazon]
    Miklos Radnoti was a great Hungarian poet tragically murdered as a Jew by the Nazis in 1944. A poet of exquisite beauty, heroic vision, classical sensibility, and astonishing formal virtuosity, his last poems were found in his coat pocket when his body was exhumed from a mass grave after the war. Fred Turner worked closely with his colleague Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, herself a Holocaust survivor, in producing this collection; a particular feature of it is that it preserves in English the meter and rhyme of the original Hungarian. The book won the Milan Fust prize, Hungary’s highest literary honor.

    An excerpt from Foamy Sky is available.

  • The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit (cultural criticism). New York: The Free Press, 1995. [Buy at Amazon]
    Taking “the third side in the culture wars,” this book is a cultural manifesto that concludes FT’s series of five critical prose works on “natural classicism.” It has been the subject of a Liberty Fund conference, the first devoted exclusively to a living author, and of several essays and monographs. Its highly controversial positions have been attacked by both the right and the left; the right because of its foundational use of evolutionary theory and its defense of liberal freedoms, the left because it systematically refutes the logical and evidentiary underpinnings of much contemporary academic feminist, multiculturalist, environmentalist, and deconstructionist social theory. It welcomes a new era of evolutionary hope.
  • The Ballad of the Good Cowboy (poetry). Eagle Pass, Texas: Maverick Press, 1997.

    A small press reprint of a long poem written in the seventies and published in the The Reaper, a literary magazine devoted to narrative poetry. This poem is in the tradition of cowboy poetry, a mystical/comic/mythic adventure of a West in which there was nothing east of Chicago, and three cowboys, based on Parsifal, Bors, and Galahad, set out to rescue Christ’s imprisoned sister from her mysterious snake-eyed abductor. The poem explores Aztec, Northwest Indian, and Eskimo cosmology, and includes an episode at the siege of the Alamo.

  • Biopoetics: Evolutionary Explorations in the Arts (essays by various hands, edited with Brett Cooke). Paragon House, 1999. [Buy at Amazon]
  • Hadean Eclogues (poetry). Ashland, Oregon: Story Line Press, 1999. [Buy at Amazon]
  • Shakespeare’s Twenty-first Century Economics: The Morality of Love and Money. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. [Buy at Amazon]
  • The Iron-blue Vault: Selected Poems of Attila Jozsef (translations with Zsuzsanna Ozsvath). Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Bloodaxe Books, 1999.
  • On the Field of Life, On the Battlefield of Truth. Pivot Press, New York, 2004. []
  • Natural Religion. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ, and London, 2006. [Buy at Amazon]
    There is widespread belief that the world’s religions contradict each other. It follows that if one religion is true, the others must be false – an assumption that implies, and may actually create, religious strife. In “Natural Religion”, acclaimed poet, critic and essayist Frederick Turner sets out to show that the natural world offers grounds for stating that all religions are, in some respect, true. Through the ages, various ways have been proposed to resolve religious differences. Some argue for the destruction of all religions but one’s own. Others substitute an abstract principle for the real ritual and moral practice of religion. Still others doubt all religious truth and, consequently, all truth. Others accept a kind of pluralistic relativism. This book explores syncretism, whereby all religions are seen as grasping the same strange and complex reality, but by very different means and handles. The idea that all religions are true raises a supervening question: if so, what must the real physical universe be like? Turner approaches these questions in terms of scientific inquiry. There is not enough room in space itself to fit in all theologies; but there may be enough room in time if new scientific descriptions of time’s nature are to be believed. Turner argues that in the time-models of contemporary cosmological and evolutionary science all times may be connected and time may be infinitely branched and causally looped so that both forward-in-time and backward-in-time factors may be in operation in the same event. Thus, the fundamental substance of the universe may be information rather than matter or energy. The universe is more like a vast living organism than a vast machine. Turner argues that all existing religions can be shown to fit into this model, which in turn points to deeper implications of religious doctrines, languages and practices. There would be plenty of “room” in such a view of time for a tree of different, yet linked religious worlds and poetic language may be the most effective tool for describing the divine.
  • Në Shpellën e Platonit (“In Plato’s Cave”, full-length collection of poems by Frederick Turner translated into Albanian by Gjekë Marinaj). Marinaj Publishing, Dallas, Frankfurt, Tirana, 2006.
  • The Prayers of Dallas (poetry). Turning Point Press, Cincinnati, Ohio 2006. [Buy at Amazon]
  • Frederick Hart: The Complete Works: Essays by Donald Kuspit and Frederick Turner. Butler Books, Louisville, 2007. [Buy at Amazon]