There is a universal human fascination with the heart which no other organ has inspired. A cultural and emotional history of the heart, this is a warm, bright, stimulating, far-ranging and unprecedented book. It has four parts (like the heart): the Physical Heart; the Religious Heart; the Heart in Art; and the Written Heart.
The first part covers, amongst other things, anatomy and the history of ideas about how the heart works; weaknesses of the heart and disease; surgery and transplants; and other animals' hearts - the heart as the seat of life. The second has the Bleeding Heart of Christ; pagan sacrifice; saints' attributes; the heart in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism etc - the heart as the seat of the soul.
The third part looks at votive art, the "heart/fruit thing"; sublimated visual hearts; kitsch; advertising and logos; cartoons - the heart as visual symbol. The fourth looks at expressions of love in literature, from the Greeks' musings on eros and agape via myths and legends and the invention of courtly romance to the romantic novel, as well as song lyrics - the heart in writing.