Category: Core Authors

Meditation on Remediation

An update from the front lines of the Core classrooms! This week, students are exploring Hamlet, and discovering what it means to remediate a text. Core students know better than anyone that some stories strike such a chord with the human experience that they continue to be told throughout history. Storytellers have always taken source […]

The Good-Enough Life

As Er watches dead souls choose new lives in Plato’s Myth of Er, he is surprised to see Odysseus chooses a life of a farmer. Instead of another life of greatness and fame, he chooses the middle path of an ordinary man. Many thinkers and characters strive for greatness, and some even manage to achieve […]

Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?

Hell is everywhere we look. It is integral to religious belief systems, literature, and even popular TV shows. As editor of the new compilation “The Penguin Book of Hell,” Scott Bruce explores 3,000 years of this damnation, from Odysseus traveling to Hades to Climate Change as Hell on Earth. While doing so, he reckons with […]

Core Meets Core: Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen

In her 1913 essay, Virginia Woolf writes on the merits and failings of Jane Austen. While Woolf describes Austen as “singularly blessed,” she also critiques Austen’s lack of rebellion of her “artificial” life. For Woolf, Austen someone satirizes middle class life and the fools who inhabit it, but never fully pushes away from it. Perhaps […]

Machiavelli, Man of the People

We’ve known our share of allegedly misunderstood literary figures (lookin’ at you, Nietzsche). But is Machiavelli one of them? In The Prince, Machiavelli argues that leaders shouldn’t be objectively virtuous or truthful, but rather effective at preserving their reign. Hence a just end can excuse a leader’s horrendous acts, or “the ends justify the means.” […]

On Mice and Not Knowing

The Enlightenment was… many things. To seek to define it in one word would, perhaps, be a display of great arrogance. And of course, none of us here with the Core have anywhere near enough self-esteem to be considered arrogant. One of the definitions of Enlightenment, and perhaps the most common, is thus: the Enlightenment […]

Three Nineteenth-Century Poets on Night

Now that we’re in the thick of the semester, we’re all lacking for a full night’s sleep. Here is what three of the English Romantics had to say about the subject of night. The Sun Has Long Been Set William Wordsworth The sun has long been set, The stars are out by twos and threes, […]

Reflections on the First Year of Core

We received this eloquent letter from a student in which she reflects on her first year in the Core. She’s given us her permission to share her note with you all here: Throughout this year, the single class that helped me grow and mature into a college student more than any other was the Core […]

Left Augustinianism: Original Sin for a Secular Age

Many thanks to Prof. Rabinovitch for bringing this to our attention! We know from our readings of Augustine’s City of God that the saint believed in a world of souls stained by original sin. Over in Britain, however, fifth-century ascetic Pelagius denied that nagging evil lurking within souls, pointing instead to a world born to […]

Did Jane Austen Die from Arsenic Poisoning? Probably Not

What killed Jane Austen? Over at Pictorial (via Jezebel), Kelly Faircloth investigates the untimely death of Jane Austen at the age of 41. There are a number of theories to choose from–among them Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Addison’s disease, and death by cow (er, that is, tuberculosis caught from cows)–but a new assertion from the New York […]