Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Imaginative Literature

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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July 19, 2024

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

Last week, I took a look at some of the uncomfortable humor in Aristophanes’ The Wasps. I wondered why (or how) a play can poke fun at the very group that it also needs to please. How does this type of humor please an audience? It’s pretty widely known that sometimes we like to laugh at ourselves,

 » Read more about: Why We Laugh, Part II  »

July 12, 2024

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

Laughter is a tricky business. In fact, it’s never a sure thing. What makes one person laugh may offend someone else. I have seen this happen on a number of occasions when some of the audience at a comedy club get so disgusted that they walk out. Comedy is edgy, thorny, and sometimes uncomfortable. This type of laughter pushes our boundaries.

 » Read more about: Why We Laugh  »

June 7, 2024

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

I have always had a difficult time separating myth and fairy tale. They seem similar to me, and in fact, according to historian, critic, and writer Marina Warner, they do share similarities. They often incorporate flat characters. Plots do not need to be elaborate. Both tend to be from oral traditions. Additionally, they frequently include the intervention of a meddlesome character such as the gods (in the case of myth) or witches and magicians (in the case of fairy tale).

 » Read more about: Fairy Tales According to Marina Warner  »

May 31, 2024

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

Last week, I mentioned that George Eliot’s first novel, Adam Bede, contained fairy tale elements. Today, I want to explore some of those impressions a little bit more.

First of all, the novel’s young couple meet in private in a seemingly magical, secluded wood. The narrator even mentions that it is just the right place for nymphs and fairies.

 » Read more about: Adam Bede’s Fairy Tale  »

May 24, 2024

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

Recently, I had the great fortune to attend a discussion series on George Eliot’s Adam Bede. Hosted by Classical Pursuits, our leader Nancy Carr guided us through four deep and insightful discussions on Eliot’s novel. I have spent some time ruminating on the ideas that I want to share with you without giving away key parts of the plot.

 » Read more about: Eliot’s Adam Bede  »

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  »

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 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 8, 2024

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

If there’s one thing you know about me by now, it’s that I value discussion. This past weekend, a number of students, staff and alumni gathered in Tempe, Arizona for a rare in-person meeting. We last met just before COVID, which caused a few years hiatus. Happily, we were finally able to renew this tradition. HMU President Joe Coulson started us off with an excellent introductory discussion about the similarities between music and poetry.

 » Read more about: Sonny’s Blues Discussion  »

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