To humans, the heart has always been more than flesh and blood. Rising above its biological function, it has, instead, become the symbol of our emotions. Fear, sadness, anger, love, restlessness, discernment, foreboding, pleasure, longing, comfort, pride, despair - all that signifies passion and the human spirit are the domain of the heart. Gail Godwin takes us on a breathtaking journey that spans the entire history of human civilization, combining literature, myth, religion, philosophy, medicine, the fine arts, and intensely personal stories from the writer's own past to explore the full and complex character of this unique icon. Godwin's explorations and meditations brilliantly track themes of the heart in life, legend, and in art: from the first drawing of the 'heart-shaped' heart to the first valentine, from Gilgamesh to Confucius, from the heart of darkness to wearing one's heart on one's sleeve.