Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Tag: Beauty

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.


October 13, 2023

Thanks to Ally Zlatar, a 2023 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

My journey into the realm of art activism was ignited by my personal battle with severe ill health, which included a protracted struggle with an eating disorder spanning over a decade. Throughout my recovery journey, I came to realize that many, particularly within the medical profession, often fixated on the diagnosis rather than recognizing the person grappling with the illness.

 » Read more about: Ally Zlatar: Navigating the Intersection of Art and Activism  »

February 24, 2023

Thanks to Eden Tesfaslassie, a 2022 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

Quintilian said, “the height of art is to conceal art.” In this quote, conceal does not mean to hide away but to be fully immersed. There should be no separation between the art and the experience of the art itself– as a viewer or an artist. This idea can be seen in the film Black Swan when the dance instructor,

 » Read more about: Servant or Master?  »

August 26, 2022

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

From Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

“I wonder whether what I see and seem to understand about nature is merely one of the accidents of freedom, repeated by chance before my eyes, or whether it has any counterpart in the worlds beyond Tinker Creek. I find in quantum mechanics a world symbolically similar to my world at the creek.

 » Read more about: A Peek at Knowledge  »

February 18, 2022

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

In Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon few facts can be established. As with most murder mysteries, the viewer sees a tangled web of evidence unfold before them. Unlike most murder mysteries, the audience begins to assume the role of judge and jury. Though we never receive an answer to the crime, the audience weighs details from each testimonial.

 » Read more about: Truth in Rashomon  »

December 24, 2021

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

Recently, I discovered a rare gem at my local library. How lucky to have chanced upon this reading near the holiday season, a time when I contemplate the goodness of life, of language and literature, art, my wealth in terms of family and friends, and of the goodness of the earth. Bashō’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches has nourished these contemplations.

 » Read more about: Bashō’s Journey  »

March 19, 2021

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

Comparing translations often leads to interesting results. Last year, I read Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice in the Great Books of the Western World, which uses H. T. Lowe-Porter’s translation (published in 1928). This year, I read Stanley Applebaum’s translation from the Dover Thrift edition (published in 1995). I do not think that differences in either translation directly affected discussion topics or the flow of the discussion.

 » Read more about: Translations of Mann’s “Death in Venice”  »

March 5, 2021

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

The Great Books Foundation recently hosted a virtual Great Books Chicago (in place of the usual in-person Great Books Chicago). Beauty was the topic of discussion. I gained wonderful perspectives from the weekend and so, today’s blog attempts to address a number of comments. Obviously, I do not have time for the majority of comments and conversation, but here are a few thoughts that stick with me as I continue to dwell upon ideas of beauty.

 » Read more about: Defining Beauty  »

June 19, 2020

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

Quotes from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Defence of Poetry (written in 1821) compose the bulk of today’s post. This work eloquently explains the connection between imagination and reality. It also alludes to the idea that poetry is an innate human trait. While I need to better understand his meanings and his ideas about poetry, I found the following quotes inspirational in light of today’s present climate.

 » Read more about: Shelley’s Defence of Poetry  »

October 11, 2019

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

In The Accidental Universe; The World You Thought You Knew, Alan Lightman separates out seven different types of universe. He dedicates each chapter to way of interpreting the universe including things like: accidental, temporary, spiritual and symmetrical. Lightman straddles both the sciences and the humanities, and this book is a sort of creative non-fiction. He explores complex science topics and elaborates his points with examples from both disciplines.

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: The Accidental Universe  »

May 10, 2019

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

I am blessed with strong women in my ancestry. Like most women, however, I find that their strength is often invisible. This invisible strength appears daily, hourly, routinely, in the way they made time for others, spent late hours fixing others’ problems, carrying the weight of the household in more ways than one. I love Alberto Ríos’s poem “Nani” which eloquently demonstrates this idea of invisible love.

 » Read more about: Poems That Celebrate Mothers  »

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