Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Virtue

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 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  »

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  »

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 9, 2024

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

It’s with bittersweet feelings that I write the concluding post on Bleak House. What a fun book! If you haven’t followed along with our pace, I do recommend reading, listening, or watching. There are many excellent versions. It’s filled with Dickensian wit, insight, and detail. I say Dickensian because only Dickens could write something so global in perspective while also fleshing out characters,

 » Read more about: Concluding Charity in Bleak House  »

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  »

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  »

November 3, 2023

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

The October Quarterly Discussion merged two chapters from The Prince by Machiavelli with a chapter from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Of prime interest was the focus on the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. Machiavelli presents him as a champion of the princely cause since he successfully tricked and killed his opponents,

 » Read more about: Gibbon Meets Machiavelli  »

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