Intellectual Life

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Marjorie Garber publishes new book Character: The History of a Cultural Obsession

July 14, 2020

What is “character”? How can it be measured, improved, or built? Are character traits fixed or changeable? Is character innate, or can it be taught?

Since at least the time of Aristotle, philosophers, theologians, moralists, artists, and scientists have engaged with the enigma of human character. In its oldest usage, “character” derives from a word for engraving or stamping, yet over time, it has come to mean a moral idea, a type, a literary persona, and a physical or physiological manifestation, observable in works of art and scientific experiments. It is...

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Upcoming Events

2020 Nov 06

LitLab: Crossing Borders: Literature and Immigration

12:30pm

The remarkable ethnic diversity of the United States is the result of the many generations of immigrants who have settled here. Many people now living in America have parents or grandparents who came from other places; many have recently arrived themselves. This week, we will think about the immigrant experience by reading literature written by those who have lived it. We’ll look at immigration from two angles: the experiences of immigrants from outside North America and the particular challenges of the US/Mexico border. 

Open to the Harvard community. For more...

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2020 Nov 13

LitLab: Harvard Reads: Guest Lectures/Speakers

12:30pm

This week we’ll watch and discuss a public lecture by an important literary figure currently at Harvard. 

Open to the Harvard community. For more information visit our canvas site: 

Canvas

2020 Nov 20

LitLab: New and Emergent Media / Digital Humanities

12:30pm

Digitally-generated content is now a huge part of what we read and write--from blogs and social media to internet fan fiction and web-born poems. Digital tools are also increasingly important in the production of knowledge in the humanities. This week, we’ll look at the ways that medium shapes message and how literature involves computing, science, graphic design, media theory, and artificial intelligence. How do web-based media impact the way we read, write, and analyze literature? 

Open to the Harvard community. For more information visit our canvas site: 

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Readings

Poetry in America

Poetry In America

Poetry in America’s mission is to bring poetry into living rooms and classrooms around the world.

Morris Gray

Morris Gray & Readings

The Harvard English Department hosts many readings throughout the year, including the Morris Gray Poetry series, which dates back to 1939 with poets that include Robert Frost, Claudine Rankine, and Adrienne Rich.

Woodberry Poetry Room

Woodberry Poetry Room

A warm, welcoming poetry library and a vital hub of literary activity, the Poetry Room features a circulating collection of 20th and 21st century books and a landmark collection of audio-visual recordings.

The History of the English Department