Category Archives: books

Shared Experience, Shared Language: A Review of Lakoff and Johnson on Metaphor

Each of my efforts to write about George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By uncannily comprises a demonstration of its thesis. As I started to plan my review, I wrote, I am late to the dance—referring to the … Continue reading

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Our Whole Heart: Language and the Book of Common Prayer

Along with the King James Bible and the collected works of Shakespeare, the Book of Common Prayer has permeated the English language and given Anglophones worldwide some of our most beautiful and evocative phrases. Even the most secular among us get … Continue reading

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Acedia–In One Image

My initial goal for this post was to discuss acedia in 25 words or less. That opening line (including its ungrammatical modification of a countable noun) was meant as a joke, but it turned out to be not much more laughable than my … Continue reading

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Not Exactly Epiphanies

At the age of 36, I decided to get a master’s degree in English. I have elsewhere–well, everywhere, including in the introductory lecture of nearly every class I teach–suggested that I was standing in a bookstore, staring at the American literature selection, when … Continue reading

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Ho-Hum; Or, Whatever Happened to the Capacity for Wonder?

As we were driving home from seeing the movie Genius in Chapel Hill, my husband asked me why people don’t read Thomas Wolfe any more. My snappy retort masked what has been for some time an insidious fear: “Because they can no … Continue reading

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Ode to OED (and Friends)

When I was a girl in the dusty mining town of Globe, Arizona, with the sulfur odor in the air when the wind blew from the west, our house had a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, and a bathroom … Continue reading

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Rites of Passage Part III: John V., Il Miglior Fabbro

Learning at the feet of the master  In furtherance of my naïve but exuberant efforts to learn how to think, my history T.A.-cum-guru John Hosmer suggested that I take a class with his Ph.D. advisor, John V. Mering. It was the … Continue reading

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Rites of Passage Part II: My Endless Summer of Thomas Wolfe

A naïve and sheltered twenty-year-old baby boomer from a copper-mining town in Arizona who asked her revered teacher/guru for a list of books to teach her how to think, I probably didn’t expect the internal cataclysm that ensued. But I … Continue reading

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Rites of Passage Part I: A Motley Pentateuch

Spring 1973: As an overachieving, overprotected, overweight college sophomore, I approached the end of the spring semester with the dread of impending loss. In addition to my accustomed success in school that year, I had incrementally begun the process—equally exhilarating and … Continue reading

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