Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, philosophers have pondered on the nature and purpose of the arts, but artists have gone on making them and audiences enjoying them regardless of these musings.
None of their theories have met with universal or even popular acceptance.
But here is theory that places the arts - all the arts - firmly and squarely within everyone's everyday experiences.
Summers of Discontent goes to the heart of the arts.
It's an examination of why artists create them in the first place and why we all feel the need for them.
Tallis thinks the arts spring from our inability as humans fully to experience our experiences; from our hunger for a more rounded, more complete sense of the world.
Tallis's thesis is original and fresh, down-to-earth and life-enhancing.
Above all it is practical and intelligible. It will inspire anyone who feels the creative urge today, or anyone who wants to understand why and how the arts enrich their lives and those of others.