Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Author: Alissa Simon

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.

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May 17, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s blog.

Metaphor was born from curiosity. From metaphor comes astonishing revelations. Such was the experience of this year’s April Quarterly Discussion. We discussed two short stories written by completely different authors, one by the contemporary science fiction and fantasy author Ted Chiang, and one by the Canadian Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Montgomery’s story “The Man on the Train,” first published in 1914,

 » Read more about: Unlikely Pairing  »

May 10, 2024

Thanks to Jennifer-NeToi Claiborne, a 2024 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s book review.

“To see with the “eyes of our hearts” (Ephesians 1:18) would be the goal of an imaginative journey and training, and the arts provide a perfect vehicle through which we can move past clogged, cluttered self absorption into the reliable communal body to experience the Spirit’s leading.” – Makoto Fujimura

As a poet,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: Art and Faith by Fujimura  »

May 3, 2024

Thanks to John M. Wiley, a 2024 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s book review.

We often hear about whether someone is “left-brained” or “right-brained” to distinguish between one’s predisposition to either logical thinking or creativity. Perhaps many (if not most) people tend to favor one side, but the case of Isaac Watts shows a man who excelled in both sides of his brain. Watts was most often known for his work as the “father of English hymnody,” showing his brilliance as a wordsmith with hymns such as “Alas!

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: Logic by Isaac Watts  »

April 26, 2024

Thanks to Tyler Wright, a 2024 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s review.

A recurrent theme in Mary Q. Steele’s Journey Outside is this idea of rejecting comfort and refuge in the familiar and instead turning one’s attention to the unknown.  Where other tales within the “hollow earth” subgenre present clear external threats that the protagonist must contend with, Dilar’s conflict resides strictly within himself. 

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: Journey Outside by Mary Q. Steele  »

April 19, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” – Paul Kalanithi

Last week, I attended an online conference hosted by The Atlantic. The “Health Summit” promoted discussions of: “the future of scaling innovation, sustainable solutions to improve patient care, and the complexity and opportunity in this revolutionary moment in health care.” They did not disappoint.

 » Read more about: Investigating Health  »

April 12, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Seeing that April is National Poetry Month, and poetry is one of my lifelong loves, I wanted to spend a few moments to share my experience. From songs and music, to rhyme and meter, I love it all. But people often ask me what I get out of poetry, what it does for me. So, today’s blog is a little nod to a discipline and art form that I have wrestled with for years.

 » Read more about: The Power of Poetry  »

April 5, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

It’s an unlikely pairing, but reading Moby Dick feels a lot like taking a deep dive into a Queen album. First, you’re in gospel, then punk rock, then opera, and all of this about some seemingly mundane thing, like a bicycle. Or, in the case of Moby Dick, into the world of whaling. There are entire chapters on the shape of a whale’s head,

 » Read more about: Moby Dick and Queen  »

March 29, 2024

Thanks to Jennifer-NeToi Claiborne, a 2024 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post. 

When the air is warm, the smell of rain and honeysuckles fill the breeze, I know that it is summer and it is time to return to Siddhartha. I first read this book in the summer of 2000, when I was in the midst of a great change in my life. It was the summer prior to entering my freshman year of college.

 » Read more about: For Each Summer, There Is Siddhartha  »

March 22, 2024

Thanks to HMU alumnus, Ellin Iselin, for today’s post.

These two powerful words in “I Have Been a Stranger in a Strange Land” by poet Rita Dove resonate as a major theme in the Community Weekend at Harrision Middleton University March, 1-3, 2024. Although I had participated in a Community Weekend and several HMU Humanities Advisory Council meetings virtually, Being There physically was well worth the cross-country flight.

 » Read more about: Being There  »

March 15, 2024

Thanks to Bill Maniotis, current HMU student, for today’s blog.

I began my first course (HUM 701: The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course) at Harrison Middleton University in April of 2019, and I am about to finish up my coursework at HMU with my second comprehensive exam on the Great Idea of Love in April of 2024, before I move on to working on my Capstone project this summer.

 » Read more about: Community Weekend, A Student’s Perspective  »

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