Edited by Persiflage, 15 May 2012 - 01:25 AM.
When I Was a Child I Read Books (2012)by Marilynne Robinson
Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:56 PM
Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:51 PM
EDIT: In the interest of actually adding to the thread, instead of just bumping its post-count, The Millions has an interesting review of the book in question:
My other big criticism is an overall sense I get that Robinson’s intellectual and political interests end in the 1960s, right around the time she left Sandpoint, ID for Pembroke College, RI. Other than a brief reference to Vattimo in Absence of Mind, she’s refused to deal with one of the most influential intellectual developments since the 1960s, the emergence of Theory. It’s like she’s not aware of how much the part of the academy she cares about most, the humanities, have absorbed the assumptions and attitudes of thinkers like Foucault. She’s still hand-wringing over Nietzsche’s superman, Freud’s primal horde, and Skinner’s behaviorism. Politically, Robinson’s liberalism looks to the past rather than the present [...] There’s also the sense with Robinson that all good things come from New England [...] her thinking would benefit from a dialogue with some of the recent shifts in the humanities, and her politics would benefit from a deeper recognition that good things can have secular sources.
In the end, it's a favorable review:
Edited by NBooth, 16 March 2012 - 02:05 PM.
Posted 21 April 2012 - 07:20 PM
The following paragraph is loaded with so many assumptions about what religious people believe, and what conservatives think, and who liberals are, that it took me out of the review completely:
But if Robinson writes with a devoutness that can alienate those who don’t share it, she also avers that wisdom is “almost always another name for humility.” Not only in Christian Scripture but throughout the Hebrew Bible, she finds a “haunting solicitude for the vulnerable.” Like many conservative critics, with whom she would otherwise disagree, she is angry at America for its putative betrayal of its founding principles. She condemns “condescension toward biblical texts and narratives, toward the culture that produced them, toward God.” She decries the diminution of religion as “a primitive attempt to explain phenomena which are properly within the purview of science.” But her anger arises not on behalf of some fanciful notion that America was once a monolithic Christian nation. She is angry, instead, at our failure to sustain the capacious conception of community with which, as she shows in a brilliant essay entitled “Open Thy Hand Wide: Moses and the Origins of American Liberalism,” America began — a community founded not on the premise that human beings are motivated primarily by greed, but as an experiment in building a society on the principle of love. She persists in believing that this experiment has not been futile: “The great truth that is too often forgotten is that it is in the nature of people to do good to one another.”
EDIT: Ooops! Nothing about liberalism there beyond a title word in the essay. Elaboration arrives in the first sentence of the review's next paragraph:
As the credo of a liberal Christian, Robinson’s new book of essays stands on its own.
Edited by Christian, 21 April 2012 - 07:22 PM.
Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:41 PM
As those who have been paying attention to my reader reactions in this forum may have noticed, I've spent the past several months reading essay collections. I've been impressed with Pulphead and The Ecstacy of Influence, and have started (and will soon resume) The Neconservative Persuasion. I'm going to add the Robinson collections, along with a Wendell Berry primer. I'll post about the latter in a Berry-related thread.
Edited by Christian, 15 June 2012 - 01:41 PM.
Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:14 AM
I am enjoying reading this on my Nook, in bed, with the Glowlight turned on.