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Imagination

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Though land and setting seem rarely featured in Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark, they do comprise an unusual role, one that grows towards the past instead of the future. Cather...
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The imagination invests the world with that richness and resonance which makes it an attractive dwelling for the intellect. But the imagination is indispensable to action as well. For the real world is worth our exertion only when the visionary imagination sets the scene for action...
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Last week a student asked me, “What is creativity?” I was unsure how to respond. I felt like the speaker from Leaves of Grass musing about a child, who, fetching a handful of grass, asks him what the...
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Storytelling shaped Washington Irving and his life as much as he shaped it. Irving describes how from boyhood he rambled about the countryside and “made myself familiar with all its places famous in history or fable. I knew...
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The whole scene expressed the vain struggle of the gilded vanities of this world, when opposed to age, infirmity, sorrow, and death... There is a certain church in the city of New York which I have always...

Russell and Annette Kirk with the author Driving across the snowy landscape of Michigan the day after Christmas in 1973, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had been invited to take part in the first seminar...
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Let us picture a woman thrown into a dungeon. There she bears and rears a son. He grows up seeing nothing but the dungeon walls, the straw on the floor, and a little patch of the sky seen...
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Applying imagination to politics can lead to political wish-fulfillment fantasies or to the enlivening of real communities from within... The topic "Politics and the Imagination" is at once larger and more restricted than "Politics and the Arts,"...
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Although modernity contains other and contrasting elements, it may be permissible to call the new type of person simply "modern man." His demeanor is very different from that of premodern man. Far from discounting the opportunities of a worldly existence, this person entertains great expectations... Today’s...

Our world drowns in information, facts, bites, noise, opinions, and other particulars. Yet, even the best of our students have the most difficult time connecting one thing to another. It is myth that allows us to transcend the immediate and the ephemeral...
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Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism... The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006)
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Many believe that objectivity is the historian’s goal. But Forrest McDonald believed that history by its very nature entails artifice; the historian is not simply a mere recorder or reporter of events, but also an artist... “History is marble, and remains forever cold, even under the...
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Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men’s real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?... Between the silver ribbon of morning and the green glittering...
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The world has long sought to explain the mysteries of madness and genius and has largely failed to do so. Perhaps the better idea would be simply to allow madness and genius to go on explaining the world’s own mysteries to itself... Today’s offering in our...