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Handing One Another along: Literature and Social Reflectionby Trevor Hall
Synopses & Reviews
In this book on shaping a meaningful and ethical life, the renowned, Pulitzer Prize-winning author explores how character, courage, and human and moral understanding can be fostered by reflecting on thelives of others, through stories. Based on Robert Coles' legendary course at Harvard, this provocative book addresses such questions as, Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are wegoing? It calls on us to become stronger and more aware, by reflecting on ourselves and others with the help of great literature and art.
Dr. Coles shows how the work of writers, artists, andthinkers of the past two centuries can inspire our own reflections on the daily lives we lead. He offers a compelling call to venture outside of our own selves and lives and to listen, attentively and with growinghumanity, to the way others get through life. Coles encourages us to examine our own character, kindness, and complexity by looking carefully at our perceptions of others, and by studying the wisdom of authors from CharlesDickens to Flannery O'Connor, from James Agee to George Orwell, and many others. In this influential conversation about empathy and engagement, Coles inspires us to seek out deeper meaning in our lives, andguides us toward achieving greater clarity, strength, and richness of understanding, amid the moral, psychological, and social complexities of the modern world.
From the Hardcover edition.
Shares inspirational insights into how character, courage and moral understanding can be promoted by reflecting on the lives of others, drawing on the author's famous Harvard course to offer provocative assessments of the examples of famous writers.
About the Author
Robert Coles is a professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at the Harvard Medical School and a research psychiatrist for the Harvard University Health Services. His many books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning five-volume Children of Crisis and the bestselling The Moral Intelligence of Children and The Spiritual Intelligence of Children. He is also the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard. He lives in Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Heading out: the literary and journalistic documentary tradition of social observation: the call to venture outside of what we know, and attend the stories of others. Featured: James Agee, George Orwell, and William Carlos Williams — When strangers meet: meeting so-called ordinary American working class men and women: courage, challenge, kindness and complexity in everyday living. Featured: the old ones of New Mexico, Raymond Carver, Edward Hopper, Tillie Olsen, and Ruby Bridges — A storytelling humanity: ways of seeing race and identity: viewing encounters through the eyes of others and finding grace. Featured: Ralph Ellison, Flannery O'Connor, Zora Neal Hurston — Bringing it home: intellectuals and the religious search: finding meaning in the life given to us with stories as our guide. Featured: Dorothy Day, John Cheever, Walker Percy, Simone Weil, and a potato chip truck — Boundaries and breakthroughs: finding simple clarity amidst moral, psychological and social complexity. Featured: Paul Gauguin, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and George Eliot — Afterword: a course's history — A reading list for life: the syllabus from the Harvard course, "A literature of social reflection".
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