This new edition of Descartes’ Meditations by Emanuela Scribano and Zbigniew Janowski, two scholars who wrote extensively on Descartes and 17th c. philosophy, was prepared with the first-year college student in mind. unlike all existing editions in english, which contain bare text of the Meditations, the novelty of this edition is that it includes a short commentary to each meditation, in which the editors help the reader follow Descartes’ steps and arguments.
In addition to their brief commentaries, the authors also included short footnotes to the books and articles by contemporary Cartesian specialists who discuss in greater detail specific questions and problems which the text of the Meditations raises. In doing so, the authors hope to familiarize students with authors and titles of major works on Descartes, and with on-going scholarly controversies which this masterpiece of modern thought still inspires
Six Days with Descartes: The Meditations, Latin and English Text with a Commentary for College Students can also serve as a helpful tool for young and less experienced teachers of philosophy.
"In order to accept the enormous responsibility that comes of being in the world, we must first conceive, in spite of all the obstacles, the state of actually being the world." It is for this reason that John R. Campbell came to the Klamath marshes, a wetland in southern Oregon formed by three ancient, shallow lakes.
Absence and Light is Campbell's account of his exploration of the marshes and a meditation on the world he found there, on his growing understanding of the physical, emotional, moral, and aesthetic meaning of that world, on his own growth as a man. Through Campbell's eyes, we observe the stirring and astonishing beauty of the marshes and their creatures, and the utter poignancy of their fragility before the heedless ambitions of humankind.
This is nature writing at its most profound and moving, writing that in examining and defining the world of nature helps us to understand the very complicated and contradictory realities of being human. Campbell's luminous descriptions and mystical insights will long linger in the reader's memory.
A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.
In this fourth collection of reflections on writing and the writing life, the late William Stafford's lifelong refusal to separate his work from the task of living responsibly -- "What a person is shows up in what a person does" -- rings clear.
The Answers Are Inside the Mountains collects unpublished interviews, poems, articles, aphorisms, and writing exercises from this great American man of letters and hugely prolific author, who kept a journal for nearly half a century and produced over 20,000 poems -- a staggering output by any standard.
The book begins with the words "To overwhelm by rightness," a phrase evoking the two demands Stafford made on himself: to write daily, and to live uprightly. The Answers Are Inside the Mountains lives up to those deceptively simple ethics, and confirms William Stafford's enduringly important voice for our uncertain age.
William Stafford (1914-93) authored more than thirty-five books of poetry and prose, including the highly acclaimed Writing the Australian Crawl, You Must Revise Your Life, Crossing Unmarked Snow: Further Views on the Writer's Vocation, and Traveling Through the Dark, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry.
Once rarely discussed in medical circles, the relationship between spirituality and health has become an important topic in health care. This change is evidenced in courses on religion and medicine taught in most medical schools, articles in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, and conferences being held all over the country. Yet, much of the discussion of the role of religion and spirituality in health care keeps the critical distance of only being about spirituality. A Balm for Gilead goes further, offering a work of spirituality.
Sulmasy moves between the poetic and the speculative, addressing his subject in the tradition of great spiritual writers like Augustine and Bonaventure. He draws from philosophical and theological sources—specifically, Hebrew and Christian scripture—to illuminate how the art of healing is integrally tied to a sense of the divine and our ultimate interconnectedness. Health care professionals—and anyone else involved with the care of the sick and dying—will find this series of meditations both inspiring and instructive.
Sulmasy addresses the spiritual malaise that physicians, nurses, and other health care workers experience in their professional lives, and explores how these Christian healers can be inspired to persevere in the care of the sick. Drawing on the parable of the prodigal son, for instance, Sulmasy illustrates how some physicians have put financial gain ahead of their patients, and how genuine spirituality might change their hearts. He examines both enigmatic topics such as the relationship between sinfulness, sickness, and suffering and the spirituality of more routine topics such as preventive medicine. In one especially stirring and poignant meditation, he reflects on the spirituality of dying in the light of Christian hope.
A Balm for Gilead interweaves prayer and reflection, pointing the way to a twenty-first-century spirituality for health care professionals and their patients.
Insight meditation, which claims to offer practitioners a chance to escape all suffering by perceiving the true nature of reality, is one of the most popular forms of meditation today. The Theravada Buddhist cultures of South and Southeast Asia often see it as the Buddha’s most important gift to humanity. In the first book to examine how this practice came to play such a dominant—and relatively recent—role in Buddhism, Erik Braun takes readers to Burma, revealing that Burmese Buddhists in the colonial period were pioneers in making insight meditation indispensable to modern Buddhism.
Braun focuses on the Burmese monk Ledi Sayadaw, a pivotal architect of modern insight meditation, and explores Ledi’s popularization of the study of crucial Buddhist philosophical texts in the early twentieth century. By promoting the study of such abstruse texts, Braun shows, Ledi was able to standardize and simplify meditation methods and make them widely accessible—in part to protect Buddhism in Burma after the British takeover in 1885. Braun also addresses the question of what really constitutes the “modern” in colonial and postcolonial forms of Buddhism, arguing that the emergence of this type of meditation was caused by precolonial factors in Burmese culture as well as the disruptive forces of the colonial era. Offering a readable narrative of the life and legacy of one of modern Buddhism’s most important figures, The Birth of Insight provides an original account of the development of mass meditation.
Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations inAlaska’s Arctic Wilderness is an autobiographical exploration of author Bill Sherwonit’s relationship with the Alaska wilderness. Written in three parts, it first describes Sherwonit’s introduction to the Brooks Range and his years as an exploration geologist. Taking a step back, the author then takes us into the past to explore his childhood roots in rural Connecticut and his recognition of wild nature as a refuge. He concludes with his emergence as a nature writer and wilderness advocate.
An engrossing, fascinating, and eye-opening tale of one man’s life and of wilderness conceptions, this vivid description of an area of Alaska that few people get to experience is authentic and enlightening. It is an extraordinary contribution to the literature of place from one of Alaska’s most accomplished nature writers.
Prompted by the suicides of Jean Amery and Primo Levi, Harold Kaplan sought to ask what the Holocaust can be said to affirm even even in the face of its overwhelming negation of meaning. "I wrote this book," he explains, "to translate the Holocaust out of the moral and intellectual shock which contemplates the alienation of humanity from itself. I wished to understand the 'crime against humanity' as a viable category of the moral reason. And I wished to respond to the written testimony of Holocaust victims and survivors as if the issue of their survival were present to us today."
Kaplan simulates the response to a long visit to the new Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., which, crucially for Kaplan, is sited in direct view of the Jefferson and Lincoln monuments, powerful symbols of humanist democracy. He insists the Holocaust be viewed not only in terms of personal ethics but modern political ethics as well: for Kaplan the affirmative legacy of the Holocaust is its focus on the dangers of nationalism, racism, and all forms of separatist group identities. It challenges the historicism, cults of power, and scientistic politics of modernity. And it challenges the moral passivity and relativism of mass politics in Western and Eastern societies.
The opening of the Holocaust museum has sparked a debate that reflects a larger debate over the Holocaust's "meaning," its translatability for ordinary understanding. Some deny any possible response except that of overwhelming grief and horror. For others, the "lesson" of the Holocaust implies, in the words of Robert Nozick, that "mankind has fallen. . . . Humanity has lost its claim to continue." The moral life and political institutions will remain endlessly tormented by the Holocaust. That, Kaplan tells us, is the ultimate content of its "meaning," and is what makes the discussion of "meaning" much more than a mourner's symposium.
The Museum itself, according to Kaplan, has become an impressive memorial to the principle of humanism, instructing the collective memory of this democracy and that of nations everywhere which aspire to civil existence. Out of its awful darkness the Holocaust throws the light of conscience for those capable of receiving it.
Originally released in 1980, Lucia Capacchione’s The Creative Journal has become a classic in the fields of art therapy, memoir and creative writing, art journaling, and creativity development. Using more than fifty prompts and vibrantly illustrated examples, Capacchione guides readers through drawing and writing exercises to release feelings, explore dreams, and solve problems creatively. Topics include emotional expression, healing the past, exploring relationships, self-inventory, health, life goals, and more. The Creative Journal introduced the world to Capacchione’s groundbreaking technique of writing with the nondominant hand for brain balancing, finding innate wisdom, and developing creative potential.
This thirty-fifth anniversary edition includes a new introduction and an appendix listing the many venues that have adopted Capacchione’s methods, including public schools, recovery programs, illness support groups, spiritual retreats, and prisons. The Creative Journal has become a mainstay text for college courses in psychology, art therapy, and creative writing. It has proven useful for journal keepers, counselors, and teachers. Through doodles, scribbles, written inner dialogues, and letters, people of all ages have discovered vast inner resources.
Before publishing his landmark Meditations in 1641, Rene Descartes sent his manuscript to many leading thinkers to solicit their objections to his arguments. He included these objections, along with his own detailed replies, as part of the first edition. This unusual strategy gave Descartes a chance to address criticisms in advance and to demonstrate his willingness to consider diverse viewpoints—critical in an age when radical ideas could result in condemnation by church and state, or even death.
Descartes and his Contemporaries recreates the tumultuous intellectual community of seventeenth-century Europe and provides a detailed, modern analysis of the Meditations in its historical context. The book's chapters examine the arguments and positions of each of the objectors—Hobbes, Gassendi, Arnauld, Morin, Caterus, Bourdin, and others whose views were compiled by Mersenne. They illuminate Descartes' relationships to the scholastics and particularly the Jesuits, to Mersenne's circle with its debates about the natural sciences, to the Epicurean movements of his day, and to the Augustinian tradition. Providing a glimpse of the interactions among leading 17th-century intellectuals as they grappled with major philosophical issues, this book sheds light on how Descartes' thought developed and was articulated in opposition to the ideas of his contemporaries.
Of all the senses, touch is the most ineffable—and the most neglected in Western culture, all but ignored by philosophers and artists over millennia. Yet it is also the sense that links us most intimately to the world around us, from our mother’s caress when we’re born to the gentle lowering of our eyelids after death.
The Forgotten Sense gives touch its due, addressing it in multifarious ways through a series of six essays. Literary in feel, ambitious in conception, admirable in their range of reference and insight, these meditations address questions fundamental to the understanding of touch: What do we mean when we say that an artwork touches us? How does language affect our understanding of touch? Is the skin the deepest part of the human body? Can we philosophize about a kiss? To aid him in answering these questions, Pablo Maurette recruits an impressive roster of cultural figures from throughout history: Homer, Lucretius, Chrétien de Troyes, Melville, Sir Thomas Browne, Knausgaard, Michel Henry and many others help him unfurl the underestimated importance of the sense of touch and tactile experience.
The resulting book is essay writing at its best—exploratory, surprising, dazzling, a reading experience like no other. You will come away from it with a new appreciation of touch, and a new way of understanding our interactions with the world around us.
Writer and photographer Gary Lantz has always felt most at home in what the Osage used to call the “heart stays” country—the southern edge of the Flint Hills tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma’s Osage County. It’s a place of grassy mounds with lots of rocks underfoot and clusters of crooked little oaks providing shade. It started young, his long-lasting love affair with a landscape that unnerves the uninitiated a little, mostly because it just seems so empty, and it has persisted through his entire life.
As proud grasslanders know, the prairie is biologically fulfilling, unique, and increasingly rare: biologists from the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy agree that a healthy prairie remains one of the most ecologically diverse and dynamic ecosystems on this planet—as well as one of the rarest left on earth. This landscape that once inspired rapturous exclamations from travelers headed west on horseback now mostly exists in fragments exiled from each other by cropland, cities, and interstate highways.
Historically, tallgrass prairie stretched from Canada to Texas, from central Kansas to Indiana. Now the last major expanse of tallgrass occurs in the Flint Hills, a verdant landscape extending in a north-south strip across eastern Kansas and into northern Oklahoma’s Osage County. In these essays, Gary Lantz brings the beautiful diversity of the prairie home to all of us.
When Linda Spence asked her aging mother to write her life story, her mother stared at a blank sheet of paper and asked—“How? Where do I begin?” In this practical guide to capturing those memories that have been stored away, Linda Spence provides the questions that are the keys to unlocking the memories that make up a life.
Beyond the vital statistics are the personal stories that tell what it was like, what we did, and why we did it, how we feel about our choices, and what our circumstances were. Through encouraging coaching, shared memories, and open-ended questions, the process of producing a personal history becomes intriguing and engaging.
With Legacy the possibilities expand: a personal record is preserved—with its myths, traditions, joys, pains, gains, and losses; a family opens a potential dialogue that will last for generations; the writer has an opportunity for insight and resolution; the culture of a time and place is noted; the tradition of personal story is revitalized, and our present and future find nourishment and knowledge in the past.
Either as a gift that can act as a shared experience as the memories are recounted or as a personal way to take account of one’s experiences, often long since forgotten, Legacy is indeed a way to get one’s story down.
When Mieke Bal reread the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife as an adult, she was struck by differences between her childhood memories of a moral tale and what she read today. In Loving Yusuf¸ Bal seeks to resolve this clash between memory and text, using the same story, in which Joseph spurns the advance of his master’s wife who then falsely accuses him of rape, as her point of departure. She juxtaposes the Genesis tale to the rather different version told in the Qur’an and the depictions of it by Rembrandt and explores how Thomas Mann’s great retelling in Joseph and His Brothers reworks these versions.
Through this inquiry she develops concepts for the analysis of texts that are both strange and overly familiar—culturally remote yet constantly retold. As she puts personal memories in dialogue with scholarly exegesis, Bal asks how all of these different versions complicate her own and others’ experience of the story, and how the different truths of these texts in their respective traditions illuminate the process of canonization.
Winner of the 2008 Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by David St. John
From tumult to catharsis, the poems in Philip Pardi’s first collection, Meditations on Rising and Falling, explore the emotional tug-of-war that is the human experience. Present at every turn are people searching for meaning and sense in an elusive world: a doorman who plans to punch the senator who never speaks to him, a son who discusses ornithology with his father’s dying friend, a roofer who copes with his past as he senses his imminent fall to the ground. While the poems are witness to the turmoil of both body and soul, they are not without hope. Pardi finds grace in noise, and happiness in the mourning doves, showing us that often, the reasons for disbelief become precisely the reasons for belief. Pardi’s collection is a testimony to faith and resistance in a world where “falling is the given.”
Winner, Award for Poetry and Literary Criticism, The Writers’ League of Texas
Finalist, 2008 Norma Farber First Book Award, Poetry Society of America
Read by Protestants and Catholics alike, Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg (1633–94) was the foremost German woman poet and writer in the seventeenth-century German-speaking world. Privileged by her social station and education, she published a large body of religious writings under her own name to a reception unequaled by any other German woman during her lifetime. But once the popularity of devotional writings as a genre waned, Catharina’s works went largely unread until scholars devoted renewed attention to them in the twentieth century.
For this volume, Lynne Tatlock translates for the first time into English three of the thirty-six meditations, restoring Catharina to her rightful place in print. These meditations foreground women in the life of Jesus Christ—including accounts of women at the Incarnation and the Tomb—and in Scripture in general. Tatlock’s selections give the modern reader a sense of the structure and nature of Catharina’s devotional writings, highlighting the alternative they offer to the male-centered view of early modern literary and cultural production during her day, and redefining the role of women in Christian history.
In many societies and for many people, religiosity is only incidentally connected with texts or theologies, church or mosque, temple or monastery. Drawing on a lifetime of ethnographic work among people for whom religion is not principally a matter of faith, doctrine, or definition, Michael Jackson turns his attention to those situations in life where we come up against the limits of language, our strength, and our knowledge, yet are sometimes thrown open to new ways of understanding our being-in-the-world, to new ways of connecting with others.
Through sixty-one beautifully crafted essays based on sojourns in Europe, West Africa, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and taking his cue from Wallace Stevens’s late poem, “Of Mere Being,” Jackson explores a range of experiences where “the palm at the end of the mind” stands “beyond thought,” on “the edge of space,” “a foreign song.” Moments of crisis as well as everyday experiences in cafés, airports, and offices disclose the subtle ways in which a single life shades into others, the boundaries between cultures become blurred, fate unfolds through genealogical time, elective affinities make their appearance, and different values contend.
M. Jacqui Alexander is one of the most important theorists of transnational feminism working today. Pedagogies of Crossing brings together essays she has written over the past decade, uniting her incisive critiques, which have had such a profound impact on feminist, queer, and critical race theories, with some of her more recent work. In this landmark interdisciplinary volume, Alexander points to a number of critical imperatives made all the more urgent by contemporary manifestations of neoimperialism and neocolonialism. Among these are the need for North American feminism and queer studies to take up transnational frameworks that foreground questions of colonialism, political economy, and racial formation; for a thorough re-conceptualization of modernity to account for the heteronormative regulatory practices of modern state formations; and for feminists to wrestle with the spiritual dimensions of experience and the meaning of sacred subjectivity.
In these meditations, Alexander deftly unites large, often contradictory, historical processes across time and space. She focuses on the criminalization of queer communities in both the United States and the Caribbean in ways that prompt us to rethink how modernity invents its own traditions; she juxtaposes the political organizing and consciousness of women workers in global factories in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada with the pressing need for those in the academic factory to teach for social justice; she reflects on the limits and failures of liberal pluralism; and she presents original and compelling arguments that show how and why transgenerational memory is an indispensable spiritual practice within differently constituted women-of-color communities as it operates as a powerful antidote to oppression. In this multifaceted, visionary book, Alexander maps the terrain of alternative histories and offers new forms of knowledge with which to mold alternative futures.
The study of any masterpiece can change one’s life, but the Confessions of St. Augustine, like Plato’s Republic or Dante’s Commedia, has the almost uncanny power to enact in the reader what it describes. Plato’s book reconfigures the city of the soul by freeing it from enslavement to the tyrannical passions and making it answerable to reason in its pursuit of the good. For Augustine, who shares many of the same ends, the pursuit of the good is not the rectification of philosophical reason, but (as it was for Dante) an intensely personal and consuming love: the encounter with the living God. Oddly, it may seem, that encounter comes for Augustine through the act of reading. Unlike Plato, who depicts the process of reasoning toward the truth, Augustine finds the truth revealed in another, immeasurably greater book that cannot be read in its true sense without the help of its author.
The essays uncover a variety of themes, from Augustine’s act of reading (Marc LePain and Bercier), his emphasis on memory (Roger Corriveau), and his choice to reveal to the world his “hidden and unworldly activity” (Daniel Maher), to the way Augustine’s own education might serve as a corrective to contemporary understandings of “assessment” (Gavin Colvert). The vast wake of Augustine’s work includes writers from Dante and Montaigne to Nabokov, but three representative figures were chosen to show his influence: Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the Confessions (Rick Sorenson), James Joyce in the whole range of his work (Eloise Knowlton), and T.S. Eliot in the Four Quartets (Glenn Arbery). The most direct engagement with Augustine is obviously Rousseau’s. In his essay comparing and contrasting the pivotal moments of the two Confessions, Rick Sorenson explores major differences between the way of faith and the path of reliance on reason. Joyce might be said to have taken Rousseau’s path (at least in rejecting revelation), whereas Eliot took Augustine’s.
In its sophistications and anxieties, the late antiquity Augustine inhabited feels a great deal like the late modernity we inhabit now. Certainly, the barbarians of materialist thought long ago sacked the civilization our ancestors inhabited. When Eliot published The Waste Land in 1922, he already saw the old order of antiquity and Christendom as “stony rubble,” “a heap of broken images.” As one of his speakers puts it, “Dry bones can harm no one.” This old book, the Confessions, might seem to our contemporaries as dry and dead as those bones, but it is not so.
Without being a defense of Christianity (as the City of God is) or a work of catechesis, the Confessions might be the greatest counter to the materialist creed in Western literature. It recounts Augustine’s central, intensely personal, and ultimately liberating struggle to conceive of spiritual substance, an intellectual achievement without which he cannot even hope to accommodate his understanding to the reality of God. This book of essays has one primary end, which is to entice the reader to reopen Augustine’s book, to look over his shoulder and see what the act of reading means to him and what it has accomplished: the world-changing encounter with the substance of the Word.
The Indian spiritual entrepreneur Maharishi Mahesh Yogi took the West by storm in the 1960s and ’70s, charming Baby Boomers fed up with war and social upheaval with his message of meditation and peace. Heeding his call, two thousand followers moved to tiny Fairfield, Iowa, to set up their own university on the campus of a failed denominational college. Soon, they started a school for prekindergarten through high school, allowing followers to immerse themselves in Transcendental Meditation from toddlerhood through PhDs.
Although Fairfield’s longtime residents were relieved to see that their new neighbors were clean-cut and respectably dressed—not the wild-haired, drug-using hippies they had feared—the newcomers nevertheless quickly began to remake the town. Stores selling exotic goods popped up, TM followers built odd-looking homes that modeled the guru’s rules for peace-inspiring architecture, and the new university knocked down a historic chapel, even as it erected massive golden-domed buildings for meditators. Some newcomers got elected—and others were defeated—when they ran for local and statewide offices. At times, thousands from across the globe visited the small town.
Yet Transcendental Meditation did not always achieve its aims of personal and social tranquility. Suicides and a murder unsettled the meditating community over the years, and some followers were fleeced by con men from their own ranks. Some battled a local farmer over land use and one another over doctrine. Notably, the world has not gotten more peaceful.
Today the guru is dead. His followers are graying, and few of their children are moving into leadership roles. The movement seems rudderless, its financial muscle withering, despite the efforts of high-profile supporters such as filmmaker David Lynch and media magnate Oprah Winfrey. Can TM reinvent itself? And what will be the future of Fairfield itself? By looking closely at the transformation of this small Iowa town, author Joseph Weber assesses the movement’s surprisingly potent effect on Western culture, sketches out its peculiar past, and explores its possible future.
In Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean, Adrian Blevins and Karen Salyer McElmurray collect essays from today’s finest established and emerging writers with roots in Appalachia. Together, these essays take the theme of silencing in Appalachian culture, whether the details of that theme revolve around faith, class, work, or family legacies.
In essays that take wide-ranging forms—making this an ideal volume for creative nonfiction classes—contributors write about families left behind, hard-earned educations, selves transformed, identities chosen, and risks taken. They consider the courage required for the inheritances they carry.
Toughness and generosity alike characterize works by Dorothy Allison, bell hooks, Silas House, and others. These writers travel far away from the boundaries of a traditional Appalachia, and then circle back—always—to the mountains that made each of them the distinctive thinking and feeling people they ultimately became. The essays in Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean are an individual and collective act of courage.
Dorothy Allison, Rob Amberg, Pinckney Benedict, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Sheldon Lee Compton, Michael Croley, Richard Currey, Joyce Dyer, Sarah Einstein, Connie May Fowler, RJ Gibson, Mary Crockett Hill, bell hooks, Silas House, Jason Howard, David Huddle, Tennessee Jones, Lisa Lewis, Jeff Mann, Chris Offutt, Ann Pancake, Jayne Anne Phillips, Melissa Range, Carter Sickels, Aaron Smith, Jane Springer, Ida Stewart, Jacinda Townsend, Jessie van Eerden, Julia Watts, Charles Dodd White, and Crystal Wilkinson.