New essays on theological, political, and contemporary themes, by the Pulitzer Prize winnerMarilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as "deeply impressed by obligation and as a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still."...
|Title||:||What Are We Doing Here?|
|Number of Pages||:||336 pages|
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What Are We Doing Here? Reviews
Short Review: I picked this up because of James KA Smith's review in Comment. That review is excellent. This book I think is less than excellent. I really do love Robinson's writing. She is a great writer and a wide ranging thinker. I love how wide ranging she is. At one point she is talking about another author writing outside of their main field and quips that she isn't going to complain about that since she frequently does the same thing.
But as an essayist I find her unpersuasive, maybe becau ...more
This is not a lightweight read, as Robinson is an academic first, one who happens to write novels. Most of these essays are speeches Robinson gave at universities between 2015 and 2017, on themes of religion, politics, holiness, humanism, etc. She was clearly on a John Edwards, Calvinism, and Cromwell kick because several of the essays reference these characters, as well as looking at the true history of America and its "Puritan roots." While I believe Robinson understands something deep about h ...more
this is a brilliant book, full of hilarious nerd burns if you know how to look for them
robinson is not afraid to call out lazy thinkers and she disdains them with the power of a thousand suns, the most cutting turn of phrase
but i didn't finish it because 1) it's extremely dense writing and 2) once you get past the halfway point, the essays essentially cover the same ground
why do we ignore certain parts of history when we talk about what it means to be american, or our relationship with britain a ...more
It is no accident that Marxism and social Darwinism arose together, two tellers of one tale. It is not surprising that they have disgraced themselves in similar ways. Their survival more than one hundred and fifty years on is probably owed to the symmetry of their supposed opposition. Based on a single paradigm, they reinforce each other as legitimate modes of thought. So it is with our contemporary Left and Right. Between them we circle in a maelstrom of utter fatuousness.
What Are We Doing He ...more
Summary: A collection of essays based on talks given, mostly at universities, between 2015 and 2017, questioning what she sees as a surrender of thought to ideology.
"I know it is conventional to say we Americans are radically divided, polarized. But this is not more true than its opposite--in essential ways we share false assumptions and flawed conclusions that are never effectively examined because they are indeed shared" (Preface, p. ix).
The thread that connects these essays, mostly transcript ...more
Marilynne Robinson is one of the most thoughtful writers of our time, capable of finding and savoring beauty in humanity, despite the millions of ways we pile insult and injury upon each other. In this newest collection of essays, talks, and addresses, she engages questions and concerns at the forefront of the American consciousness: What is the role of education, and to what extent are our current educational systems serving the populace as they ought? What can be done about the frightening acc ...more
Once again, I relished reading Marilynne Robinson. Bracing as she is, her prose is so precise, beautiful, and surprising that just reading it is reward in itself. And I like being introduced to ideas that expand my understanding of America, who we are, and who we can aspire to be. She is critical and inspirational as well.
These lectures were delivered in various locales from 2015 - 2017, so they are especially timely.
She mentions reading online that she is the very definition of unhip. Not for ...more
For some reason, I don't quite grasp her essays but I love their depth. Ms. Robinson is a subtle writer who suggests more than states (I think) and is remarkable as a highly theologically literate thinker and author. I keep going back to her works for refreshment.