Humanities

Sarah Osborn: Early American Evangelical, Part II

Sarah Osborn— February 9, 1752, Sabbath evening Ah, Lord, how deceitful do I find my heart to be. How often have I thought I desired nothing more of this world’s goods, but just daily food and raiment and wherewith to render to everyone their due. Yea, I have once and

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Sarah Osborn: Early American Evangelical, Part I

Catherine Brekus— What can the story of an eighteenth-century woman’s life tell us about the rise of evangelical Christianity in America? This is the story of Sarah Osborn, a woman born three centuries ago, and the strange yet familiar world in which she lived. Strange, because she rejected many of the

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How to Hook Your Audience: The Rule of Three

David Crystal— If there’s one thing that seems to promote eloquent language more than anything else, that is found repeatedly in the speech of any orator I’ve ever listened to, that appears in every language I’ve ever studied, it’s the “rule of three.” Eloquence is infectious. You notice a clever

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Finding the Medieval in Pop Culture

Michael Alexander— The rise of the visual media, film, television, video, DVD and other forms of electronic transfer, has transformed the mediation of the stories which human beings need, stories previously transmitted through the spoken, the written and the printed word, or by words spoken in live theaters. The visual

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Reconciling Deism and Puritanism in Benjamin Franklin

Thomas S. Kidd— Americans incessantly debate the role of religion in our nation’s origins. Was America founded as a Christian nation? Or was the American Revolution mostly championed by Enlightenment skeptics? Some of the Founders, such as George Washington, spoke highly of religion, but their personal beliefs were unclear. The

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Dorothy Day for the Twenty-First Century

Joseph Kip Kosek— Dorothy Day (1897–1980) was deeply shaped by the economic and political upheavals of the 1930s and 1940s. Early in her career, she worked as a journalist in New York City, participating in the radical political and cultural experiments centered in Greenwich Village. Then, in 1926, the year

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Notes from the Gulag

The following two poems are written by Arsenii Formakov, a Latvian Russian poet, novelist, and journalist, during two terms in Soviet labor camps, 1940 to 1947 in Kraslag and 1949 to 1955 in Kamyshlag and Ozerlag. This correspondence, which Formakov mailed home to his family in Riga, provides readers with

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The First Professional American Novelist

Wayne Franklin— It’s a good story, but will it sell? It’s the rare young writer who doesn’t fantasize about the best seller that would make her career. The truth of the matter, though, is that very few published writers actually support themselves by what they write. When I was a

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Writing as Witness: A Conversation with Claudio Magris

Anne Milano Appel— Translating Claudio Magris’ Blameless was not the first time I had the honor and happy privilege of working with this magnanimous author (a word I use in the Aristotelian sense, which, according to its Latin etymology—magnus as “great,” and animus, “soul”—connotes a true generosity of spirit). An earlier conversation with

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Teaching as Lifelong Learning

James M. Banner, Jr. and Harold C. Cannon— For the most skilled and devoted teachers, knowledge comes through an intense love of learning and of a subject, a love whose origins may be mysterious and unknown, awakened perhaps by a chance encounter with a children’s book, by a parent’s praise,

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