Category: Great Questions

‘In The Waiting Room’ by Laura Sims

In her post for Poetry Foundation, Laura Sims discusses the strange inspiration that waiting rooms can bring, and how they can be “conducive to poetry”. Here is an extract: The speaker of Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘In the Waiting Room’ has a famously crucial moment in a doctor’s office, too. She looks around at all the adults, all the human beings […]

‘How To Pronounce It’ by Alan S.C. Ross

On a lighter note, let us explore pronunciation. In his article for The Spectator, Mark Mason discusses the strange but interesting book, How To Pronounce It, written by Alan S.C. Ross in 1970. Here is a sample: It took me quite a while to be sure that the book isn’t a spoof after all. ‘Gone’, we’re told, […]

Rachel Richardson: Escape Artists

In her article about studying poetry with prisoners, Rachel Richardson shares the intricacies of the endeavor. Here is an extract: My partner and I went into the prison to write and hear poems, to share poetry with a group of men who might want to have this art in their lives. That was our theory. Any […]

Auden on Memorizing Poetry

Relating to the Core’s study of W.H. Auden is an article about his insistence on memorizing poetry. Here is an extract: Auden would insist that the boys in his class learn poem after poem by heart. Even parrot-fashion. Auden said it didn’t matter whether they understood them. If they learnt the poems now, they would […]

One Of Us: Discussing Descartes & Animal Consciousness

Relating to CC201′s study of The Renaissance is the essay ‘One Of Us’ by John Jeremiah Sullivan on animal consciousness, in which he discusses Descartes’ views on the topic. Here is an extract: Descartes’ term for them [animals] was automata—windup toys, like the Renaissance protorobots he’d seen as a boy in the gardens at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, “hydraulic statues” that […]

Gender Inequality: CC204 & The Claims of Esquire’s Editor

Relating to last week’s lecture by Professor Mears on gender inequality and Hochschild’s readings, are two articles discussing the claim made by the Esquire‘s editor, that “women are there to be beautiful objects”. Some extracts: “The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental,” he said, speaking at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London on Tuesday. […]

The Future of the Bolshoi Ballet

The Core presents an article from The Atlantic discussing the Bolshoi ballet and its changing state. Here is an extract: History and lingering popular sentiments tether the institution to the state more than any other cultural venue, even if ideologically speaking, neither is much use to the other. Though Putin’s own insistence on machismo makes clear […]

‘Seeds of Hope’ by Jane Goodall

In this article for the Boston Globe, Adam Langer discusses Jane Goodall’s new work. He describes it as: Part reminiscence, part natural history, and part plea on behalf of the natural world, “Seeds of Hope” begins with Goodall’s childhood in Bournemouth, England, where she recalls spending hours in her favorite tree doing her homework, reading […]

Mo Yan’s Delicate Balancing Act

Sabina Knight writes, in this review, of author Mo Yan’s receipt of a Nobel Prize and the controversy that arisen due this event. Here is a sample: Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for his writing, not for political engagement. This essay thus offers a perspective on his politics based not on a few symbolic […]

Core Texts on Leadership

Here are samples from the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and Don Quixote on the topic of leadership: My child, what strange remarks you let escape you. Could I forget that kingly man, Odysseus? There is no mortal half so wise; no mortal gave so much to the lords of open sky. ~ The Odyssey, Book I, […]