Category: Great Questions

Have you ever lied about reading a book?

Even the most erudite and cultured Core students and faculty have at some point in their lives been placed in a sticky situation where lying about having read a book is the easiest way out. A useful post from The Guardian gives us a study of the top ten books that people have pretended to […]

Historical objectivity

Per the question of objectivity vs subjectivity in the reporting of history, relevant to cc203’s lecture on Thucydides’ “History”, check out this satirical piece by the Onion, titled World War II Documentary Suffused With Anti-Nazi Undertones. (courtesy alumna Jenna Dee)

The Major #1: English?

Looming above many college students is the uncertainty of choosing a major. The Core does not have specific instructions on how to make this important decision… However, here we highlight some of the common opinions on the matter. Today’s topic is the English Major: In a thoughtful though rather biased article from The Chronicle Review we […]

Explaining Nietzsche and Existentialism to 5-Year-Olds

Relating to CC202’s study of Friedrich Nietzsche is an excellent and amusing attempt to explain his existentialism to a group of 5-year-olds. Here is the video: For more information, visit

A Review of Christian Wiman’s Spiritual Autobiography

In his review of Christian Wiman’s spiritual autobiography, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, Jay Parini discusses Wiman’s emphasis on the importance of faith to a critic. Here is an extract: It strikes me that criticism—systemic reflection on texts, even on life itself—has lost its urgency during the past 30 years or more, […]

Oscar Wilde in America

In his review of Roy Morris Jr.’s Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America, Justin Beplate discusses Oscar Wilde’s trip to America, and the lasting effect that it had on his writing and personality. Here is an excerpt: Wilde’s reception in America was uneven. If some were bemused by the colourful paraphernalia of aestheticism, others […]

Writers’ Reasons For Reading

Here is where these great writers get their zest for reading: “Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting.” Aldous Huxley “Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring […]

Criticism of ‘Jane Austen, Game Theorist’

Relating to CC202’s study of Jane Austen’s work is an article from Slate, in which Adelle Waldman gives her amusing criticism of a recent book that discusses Austen’s insight into human behavior. Here is an extract: Austen, it seems, has something to tell us. And not only us English majors. Mathematicians. Game theorists. Serious thinkers. Even […]

Annual Poetry Reading: Poetry’s Distant Voice

The Core presents a “set of two poems, which are the same poem” as phrased by Zachary Bos, one of the respected speakers at the Annual Poetry Reading this year on April 16th. The theme of the reading was “Poetry’s Distant Voice”, and here is Zachary Bos’ contribution: From The Book of Hours I, 36 MacDiarmid, […]

Boston: Forever Changed

Former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, who teaches here at BU, shares his reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings: Out of town, watching the horror on a screen, in a familiar place on a familiar occasion, I thought first of my daughter, who works at Mass. General, and my daughter-in-law, who was in Copley Square […]