Happy Tuesday, my literary friends.
(You may have noticed that last week’s Thursday and Friday posts were MIA, but fret not! This unfortunate situation will be rectified with a double-post Thursday and Friday this week.)
Today’s featured quote comes from the scholar Mark Edmundson and his recent essay, published by The Los Angeles Review of Books, entitled “On Shit: Profanity as Weltanschauung”. Admittedly, I initially chose this piece solely based on the title. (Who wouldn’t?) But I was quickly sucked into Edmundson’s writing style, and before I knew it, I was thrown into a crisis of self-reflection: “Is my extensive use of profanity really a reflection of my life view? I am ‘hopeless’?” Fortunately, this was only a momentarily crisis before I realised that no, I am not a hopeless cynic, and I still enjoy cursing and those who decorate their conversation and writing with curse words. But, this moment of self-reflection does serve as proof of how persuasive Edmundson writes, which is precisely why I’ve chosen to feature him today.
The Links You Need in Your Life
Today’s must-read, aka the essay that inspired today’s post, from The Los Angeles Review of Books: “On Shit: Profanity as Weltanschauung.”
Want more Edmundson? Here’s another essay from him, published by The American Scholar: “Enough Already: What I’d really like to tell the bores in my life.” I chose this piece for today’s links because it could’ve essentially been a Facebook rant, but Edmundson takes the basic concept and turns it into a piece of scholarly art. Seriously. Here’s an excerpt: “If we’ve got the imagination, we seek in nature some of the facts that undergird all human experience: we listen to nature, or try to, rather than impose our truths on it.”
Are/were you an English Major? Then this one’s for you (as well as all other humanities majors): “Why major in humanities? Not just for a good job – for a good life.” Published by The Washington Post, this piece is a refreshing look at why we chose to enter into a humanities program in the first place, a reminder that is often needed after graduation when some of us find ourselves struggling with the concept of “success”. This is a line that struck me on a personal level: “But the humanities are not about success. They’re about questioning success — and every important social value.”
Want a closer look? Then head over to the Times Higher Education for Matthew Reisz’s interview with Edmundson, along with a review of Edmundson’s new book “Self and Soul”: “Eternal dilemmas: Interview with Mark Edmundson.”
That’s it for today. Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for two new posts!