The Danger of Progressives’ Inhumanity to the Humanities

The Danger of Progressives’ Inhumanity to the Humanities
Science moves forward; literature doesn’t—and when it tries, the results can be monstrous.
By Paula Marantz Cohen
July 28, 2017
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-danger-of-progressives-inhumanity-to-the-humanities-1501270819

There was a time when both literature and the study of literature came under the delightful rubric belles lettres—beautiful letters. When the phrase was introduced in the 18th century, literature was considered, at its best, beautiful. Devotees tried to emulate that beauty in their response to it.

Modernism was a turning point …

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I have always pulled it off before

Ann Patchett Journeys To The Amazon With ‘Wonder’
June 5, 2011
http://www.npr.org/2011/06/05/136863550/ann-patchett-journeys-to-the-amazon-with-wonder

“She finds out so much about herself as she loses her luggage and her cell phone and her contacts with civilization and ultimately her clothes. She really finds her own strength,” Patchett says. “She’s telling us, ‘If you are thrown off a cliff and into an ocean, you’re gonna figure out how to swim.'”

It’s the kind of lesson Patchett has put to use in her own writing career, where tackling so many disparate, exotic elements in one novel can quickly become daunting.

“Every single time I’m writing a book, I get to a certain place where I think, ‘I cannot do this. I can’t pull this off,'” Patchett says. “And the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that I have always pulled it off before.”

The Interestings

‘The Interestings’: An Epic, Post-Summer Camp Coming-Of-Age
April 7, 2013
http://www.npr.org/2013/04/07/176170086/the-interestings-an-epic-post-summer-camp-coming-of-age

Are you talented if there’s no product to go with it? If you don’t become really big? Are you still the same artist that you would’ve been if nobody recognized you?

She thought it was all even and it was all fair, and of course nothing’s even and nothing’s fair.”
[related: https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/they-did-care-more-than-you-ever-ever-realized]

… the kind of quiet envy that you might feel for people you really love.

If [Ash and Ethan] weren’t there, she would be, probably, much more content with her life. She would think it was great. But the fact that they’re there — they’re like little gremlins saying, ‘You haven’t achieved what you should have.’
[related: https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/feeling-down-watching-this-will-help]

They fill you with the faults they had

‘They May Not Mean To, But They Do’ Is A Sparkling, Sad Family Affair
June 29, 2016·
http://www.npr.org/2016/06/29/483022887/sparkling-and-sad-they-may-not-mean-to-but-they-do-is-a-family-affair

http://www.npr.org/books/titles/480659914/they-may-not-mean-to-but-they-do

It’s from Philip Larkin’s infamous poem about family called “This Be The Verse.” The first stanza, which I must edit, reads – (reading) they bleep you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra just for you.

as Larkin told us, imperfect as we may be, we’re all we’ve got.