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The Secret of the Self

From the December 2005 Print Edition

Consider the obituary column in your local newspaper—not the obituary of anyone famous but just an ordinary obituary of an ordinary person from an ordinary place. Consider it first as a surviving family member or friend, the one who has to gather the information for the obituary and select . . . . Continue Reading »

Seekers and Finders

From the December 2003 Print Edition

The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage. by Paul Elie Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 555 pp. $27. If the influence of religion has been largely elided or submerged in mainstream accounts of American intellectual history, then the role of Roman Catholicism in that history would have . . . . Continue Reading »

American Studies

From the April 2003 Print Edition

It is a rare thing for a work of intellectual history to win a Pulitzer Prize. This is partly because of the inherently knotty and abstract character of the subject matter. But it is also, alas, because the field seems to attract more than its share of the world’s most turgid writing. It is . . . . Continue Reading »

Defining the Humanities Up

From the January 2001 Print Edition

Reading a new edition of Allen Tate’s collected essays (Essays of Four Decades, ISI Books, 640 pp., $29.95) is at once a stimulating and dispiriting experience. In encountering (or re-encountering) the mind behind this rich and varied collection, one catches a pleasing glimpse of the days when . . . . Continue Reading »

My History and America's

From the April 2000 Print Edition

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), in partnership with the White House Millennium Council, announced in 1999 a “millennium project” entitled “My History Is America’s History.” The project’s literature enjoins us to “follow your family’s story and you will discover . . . . Continue Reading »