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Eva Brann

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I'm uncertain of the joy of reading the Theban plays of Sophocles—the story is just too monstrous—but in accord with the awe. This translation conveys it... Sophocles: The Theban Plays, translated by David R. Slavitt (256 pages, Yale University Press, 2009)
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One of our most remarkable capabilities is our power of at once being and not being in a certain condition. It gives us a way to do justice both to self-avowed fictions and to other people’s truths... Our country’s three...
1 710

Jane Austen's world is as merry as it is good. All the novels are perfect comedies—mirthful throughout and happy in outcome. Despite their brightness and lightness, these novels are in no way trivial—they are simply not concerned with those terrific follies presented to the...
0 689

Plato's Republic: A Study by Stanley Rosen (432 pages, Yale University Press, 2008) Plato's Republic, Stanley Rosen says at the beginning of his book, is "both excessively...
0 718

Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism... The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006)

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself "a passive auditor of the opinions of others," so as to catch the "harmonizing sentiments of the day" and...
2 984

An odyssey is an adventurous and searching journey, or an intellectual or spiritual quest. It is the proper name for the life of learning. One can shape one's own odyssey into a journey that lacks neither enchantment nor definition... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series...
1 955

What is interesting is the ultimate human predicament, when serious principles, serious commitments are at odds, and there is no apparent way to compose them in sight, except for giving something up, or giving in—that will be a surrender of self. Why are we in these predicaments...
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In the last few years, accounts of the growing politicization of academic discourse have made their way from colleges and universities onto conversations on a public, and perhaps national, scale. What is the essence behind such rancor?... There are two ways of getting home; and one...
1 2014

The characteristic frame of mind befitting liberal education is reverent radicality—deep respect and penetrating questions. It is a serious mistake to present liberal education as preoccupied with “questioning,” a surreptitiously skewering aggression on the way things are... Editor’s Note: St. John’s College and Zaytuna College both describe...
1 1078

Immanuel Kant is the most radical modern, the founder of our ultimate subjectivity. His three Critiques are world-constituting and world-inverting. Before him, the world qualified the mind; now consciousness constitutes the world... (This essay was originally published as the preface to How to Constitute a World...
1 1939

Is memory deceptively transformative? Is the original imagination an organ for lying fictions, for deception, or a conduit for revelatory illumination? And so, more generally, how do we explain those images that are apparently not imitations, don’t have an origin in verifiable originals, be they stored in...
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"That brings me to the protection of the exchanges that are the life of learning from dangers both within and without the classroom. Of these there are many, of which I’ll mention only one: the corruption of conversation...
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Jacob Klein was, first and last, every inch a teacher, a teacher who stymied discipleship in the very effort to induce learning. He did, indeed, have some teachings to convey—a few, though those were powerful and of large consequence... Editor's Note: This essay was read as...