Question: What are the recurring themes in literature?
Dana Gioia: Well you know, I think that literature is one of the necessary human studies, because the beginning of human wisdom is to recognize that, you know, we are the product of history. That millions, billions of people have lived before us. They led lives that are startlingly similar to ours even though they were in different places and different times. And what literature allows you to do is to create a conversation with the past and the present out of what you can imagine and create a future. And so it gives you a sense of the reality of other people’s lives from the inside – from the “dailyness” of their existence – not only in the peak moments, but in their ordinary moments. And what that, I think, does is build compassion. It builds humanity. And it builds a sense . . . and the sense of what the changeable parts of human nature are and what the permanent parts are.
Recorded on: 07.06.07
Literature tries to create a conversation between the present and the past.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.
I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.
- Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
- The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
- The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.