Montaigne: The First Blogger; or, Nick Hornby’s Surprise

When my monthly Believer finally arrives, one of the first pieces I read is Nick Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading.” Hornby’s polite sarcasm and gentle disdain of the academic suits the Believer’s editorial voice, a voice which, however, aging with success, must now search for ever new ways to seem avant-garde, if not anti-academic, such […]

Jane Kramer tosses a toad to Montaigne

Jane Kramer tosses a lit toad into Montaigne’s lap – sitting in his tower, surrounded by his books, like nothing else in Tennessee: “He would have loved Google” (p. 40). Would Montaigne have loved Google, which, according to Nicholas Carr, is making us stupid? Certainly, Montaigne was a blogger, his “hits” count initially limited by the […]

How Do Professors Think? More Crisis in the Humanities

At the bottom of her n+1 review of Michele Lamont’s How Professors Think, Amanda Claybaugh laments that Lamont “fails” to answer the promise of her book’s title. Claybaugh appears to buy into the title’s assumption, that professors think differently than others. But why would professors think any differently than anyone else? Indeed, from the professor […]

The Idea of Self-Portrait Writing, or A Portrait of the Writer as Reader

In Montaigne’s autobiography, we find an essay titled “Why I Paint My Own Portrait”:  “One day I was at Bar-le-Duc when King Francis II was presented a portrait that King Rene of Sicily had made of himself. Why, in a like manner, isn’t it lawful for every one of us to paint himself with his […]