Higher Education Webcasts

University Diaries

A professor of English describes American university life.

August 21, 2009 - 6:51pm
Richard Poirier, man of letters, founding editor of the journal Raritan, and longtime Rutgers University English professor, has died.
July 18, 2009 - 7:07am
Leszek Kolakowski's death reminds us that Terry Eagleton's recent attack on the atheism of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins is only the latest instance of a curious but now familiar trajectory, in which
July 15, 2009 - 6:08pm
Scott McLemee's recent consideration of the writer Isaac Rosenfeld in his IHE column, Intellectual Affairs, reawakens my own long fascination with Rosenfeld's life and work. Scott titles his piece Dangling Man -- not only the name of Saul Bellow's first novel, but also a description of the sort of person Rosenfeld, Bellow's lifelong friend, turned out to be:
June 28, 2009 - 7:39pm
"One wants glimpses of the real," wrote Harold Brodkey in his last journal entry before his death. "One almost never gets the real thing," lamented Saul Bellow in his last novel, Ravelstein.
June 12, 2009 - 3:50pm
The latest controversy over the outing of an anonymous blogger has UD thinking about privacy and writing. It was by accident that UD entered the blogosphere un-anonymous. She'd planned to hide her identity, but she forgot to tell her computer-savvy niece, who helped UD set up as a blogger, and her niece put UD's real name on the blog.
May 28, 2009 - 9:59am
I rail against distance learning, laptops in classrooms, PowerPoint, and other trends toward too much technology in university life, yet yesterday I made an audition lecture cd for the Teaching Company.If the sample audiences around the country to whom TC will now send it like UD's lecture, she'll prepare a TC lecture series. Instead of lecturing to fifty or so people every semester, she'll have an audience that spans the nation. She'll become a distance instructor. Big time.
April 28, 2009 - 8:06pm
2009 is the centenary of both Malcolm Lowry and James Agee.James Dickey coupled them:
April 20, 2009 - 9:29am
A Letter from Key WestTo My Friend David,In Memory of his Sister, Eve Sedgwick The southernmost sky is strange at ten at night,Still mildly blue with midday clouds and a calmWind that lifts the clouds to show a star dead white,Dead white and barely there above a palm's black head.The three macaws who shriek behind the palms have gone to bedAnd all the traffic in the tropics pauses for the moon.Your sister, you said last week, will be dead soon.II
April 13, 2009 - 2:59pm
This year's winner of the Pritzker architecture prize, Peter Zumthor, has a rare ability to convey in words the spirit of buildings. Even rarer, this spiritual disposition accompanies a carpenter's pragmatic sense of materials. (His father was a cabinet maker.)
March 29, 2009 - 7:55pm
Each suicide writes a new life storyWith obvious portents like something out of Dreiser Or like the junior high school poem Richard Corey,Where, once he's done it, we're so much wiserTo the heavy-foreshadowed script;The way the doomed life simply slippedFrom one heavy-handed plot point to another.Yes, heavy-handed plotting for the heavy-handedWho banded plastic bags and smothered.And yet if we were absolutely candidWe'd see our retrospectives as ordinary fables,A filling-in of horror-gaps, grief-caesuras,


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