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Essays from the lectures delivered at Yale University, the Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation. Includes bibliographical references.
In this ambitious book, acclaimed writer Marilynne Robinson applies her astute intellect to some of the most vexing topics in the history of human thought--science, religion, and consciousness. Crafted with the same care and insight as her award-winning novels, Absence of Mind challenges postmodern atheists who crusade against religion under the banner of science. In Robinson's view, scientific reasoning does not denote a sense of logical infallibility, as thinkers like Richard Dawkins might suggest. Instead, in its purest form, science represents a search for answers. It engages the problem of knowledge, an aspect of the mystery of consciousness, rather than providing a simple and final model of reality. By defending the importance of individual reflection, Robinson celebrates the power and variety of human consciousness in the tradition of William James. She explores the nature of subjectivity and considers the culture in which Sigmund Freud was situated and its influence on his model of self and civilization. Through keen interpretations of language, emotion, science, and poetry, Absence of Mind restores human consciousness to its central place in the religion-science debate.
"To be up all night in the darkness of your youth but to be ready for the day to come...that was what going to Brown felt like." --Jeffrey EugenidesIn celebration of Brown University's 250th anniversary, fifty remarkable, prizewinning writers and artists who went to Brown provide unique stories--many published for the first time--about their adventures on College Hill. Funny, poignant, subversive, and nostalgic, the essays, comics, and poems in this collection paint a vivid picture of college life, from the 1950s to the present, at one of America's most interesting universities. Contributors: Donald Antrim, Robert Arellano, M. Charles Bakst, Amy DuBois Barnett, Lisa Birnbach, Kate Bornstein, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Mary Caponegro, Susan Cheever, Brian Christian, Pamela Constable, Nicole Cooley, Dana Cowin, Spencer R. Crew, Edwidge Danticat, Dilip D'Souza, David Ebershoff, Jeffrey Eugenides, Richard Foreman, Amity Gaige, Robin Green, Andrew Sean Greer, Christina Haag, Joan Hilty, A.J. Jacobs, Sean Kelly, David Klinghoffer, Jincy Willett Kornhauser, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, David Levithan, Mara Liasson, Lois Lowry, Ira C. Magaziner, Madeline Miller, Christine Montross, Rick Moody, Jonathan Mooney, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Dawn Raffel, Bill Reynolds, Marilynne Robinson, Sarah Ruhl, Ariel Sabar, Joanna Scott, Jeff Shesol, David Shields, Krista Tippett, Alfred Uhry, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Meg Wolitzer "At Brown, we felt safely ensconced in a carefree, counterculture cocoon--free to criticize the university president, join a strike by cafeteria workers, break china laughing, or kiss the sky." --Pamela Constable
Whether rescuing Calvinism and its creator Jean Cauvin from the repressive puritan stereotype, or considering how the McGuffey readers were inspired by Midwestern abolitionists, or the divide between the Bible and Darwinism, Marilynne Robinson repeatedly sends her reader back to the primary texts that are central to the development of American culture but little read or acknowledged today. A passionate and provocative celebration of ideas, the old arts of civilization, and life's mystery.
One of the most acclaimed and original story collections of the last decade, Peter Orner's first book explores the brief but far-reaching occasions that haunt us. The discovery of a murdered man in a bathrobe by the side of a road, the destruction of a town's historic City Hall building, and the recollection of a cruel wartime decision are equally affecting in Orner's vivid and intimate gaze. The first half of the book concerns the lives of unrelated strangers across the American landscape, and the second introduces two very different Jewish families, one on the East Coast, the other in the Midwest. Yet Orner's real territory is memory, and this book of wide-ranging and innovative stories remains an important and unique contribution to the art of the American short story.
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.<P><P> This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.<P> Pulitzer Prize Winner
"Home" is an entirely independent, deeply affecting novel that takes place concurrently in Gilead, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames's closest friend. Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain. Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton's most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.
National Book Award Finalist<P> A new American classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping<P> Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.<P> Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church--the only available shelter from the rain--and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.<P> Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand to mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves. Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Home, a National Book Award finalist, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.
Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world's most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage. In celebration of their thirty-year anniversary, Tin House Books has collected highlights from the series in a single volume. Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world's most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage for one of the country's largest lectures series. Sold-out crowds congregate at Portland's Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to hear these writers' discuss their work and their thoughts on the trajectory of contemporary literature and culture. In celebration of Literary Arts' thirty-year anniversary, Tin House Books has collected highlights from the series in a single volume. Whether it's Wallace Stegner exploring how we use fiction to make sense of life or Ursula K. Le Guin on where ideas come from, Margaret Atwood on the need for complex female characters or Robert Stone on morality and truth in literature, Edward P. Jones on the role of imagination in historical novels or Marilynne Robinson on the nature of beauty, these essays illuminate not just the world of letters but the world at large.