Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Authors

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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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  »

February 23, 2024

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 Fellowship in Ideas recipient, for today’s blog.

“There is nothing new: all things are both familiar and short-lived,” the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus wrote more than 1,800 years ago in the text that we tend to title the Meditations (VII.1). Marcus Aurelius did not give them this title; he merely referred to them by a Greek term that translates to “things to one’s self.” So,

 » Read more about: A Week’s Worth of Meditations to Help Prepare to Read Marcus Aurelius  »

February 2, 2024

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

Though we near the end of Bleak House, our focus remains on notions of charity. Next week will conclude our book club discussion with the eighth and final post. We have skipped much of the mystery and murder. I apologize for that, but I would hate to ruin the suspense for those who have not kept up the pace.

 » Read more about: Bleak House: The Scheming Skimpole  »

January 26, 2024

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

II have to apologize for all the material that I’m skipping in the posts on Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. Truly, one could never do it justice. It contains a world of descriptions and personalities and consequences. It’s like looking at all of humanity in a microscope. Though large, the book reads more like a play than novel.

 » Read more about: Bleak House: A Wedding  »

January 19, 2024

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

Though I am skipping over many undiscussed gems throughout Bleak House, we must move forward. The current focus on charity intertwines in various characters’ narratives in unexpected ways. Rather than exciting the expected awe or reverence, charity in this book is bandied about and thrown in the reader’s face as if a tomato at the stage.

 » Read more about: Mindset Versus Circumstance  »

January 12, 2024

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

It is impossible to continue our conversation of charity, without a brief exploration of Esther’s Narrative. Chapter 13 of Bleak House is titled “Esther’s Narrative” and is the first of eleven chapters dedicated to her story. Though it purports to be about Esther, the chapter actually begins with a discussion of Richard’s vocation. Esther, in her usual humble manner,

 » Read more about: Charity and Esther’s Narrative  »

January 5, 2024

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

Dickens’ incredible prose is a pleasure to read. The magic of fog and mud curls around the reader, until an intense cocoon settles over the whole as in a spell. Moving between Esther Summerson’s narration and the omniscient narrator helps to pull the reader in and create a sense of community with the book. I am ignorant of the slum of Tom-all-Alone’s,

 » Read more about: Telescopic Philanthropy  »

December 29, 2023

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

Charity takes center stage this time of year. In Bleak House also, charity becomes a sort of character. Even limited to the first six chapters, Dickens explores a variety of charities. The protagonist, Esther Summerson, is introduced as an orphan in the care of her godmother who is a deeply religious woman. Esther’s godmother sees nothing but sin in the young girl and therefore treats her austerely.

 » Read more about: Charity in Bleak House  »

December 22, 2023

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

Solely due to A Christmas Carol, every winter I begin to long for a bit of Dickens. This year, I decided to tackle that monument of a book: Bleak House. I won’t lie, it’s a daunting book. Not only is it dense, but the character list feels endless. However, as it is the beginning of our break,

 » Read more about: Book Club with Bleak House  »

Aristotle

September 22, 2023

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

For me, Aristotle’s Poetics is less about advice for the writer than it is about defining structures. By that, I mean that Aristotle wants us to understand how to produce good art that expresses an important aspect of human nature. He goes so far as to define individual letters as necessary grammatical units which sustain the larger infrastructure.

 » Read more about: Translating Aristotle’s Poetics  »

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