Humanities

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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,

Continue reading…

The Talmud and Rabbi Akiva

Barry W. Holtz— What does it mean to live in a culture that is rooted in a foundational document, a document from an earlier time written in a language that is both archaic and at times obscure? Americans have grappled with this question for over two centuries and the prospect

Continue reading…

The Nuances of Irish-English Translation

Tim Robinson— More talked about than read, for over threescore years Cré na Cille has been the buried treasure of modern Irish-language literature. Our aim in this translation is modest: to give the Anglophone reader the most accurate answer we can provide to the question, What is in this book?

Continue reading…