It is such delicate work, such devoted work, the work of contouring the personhoods of persons who have imprinted the world with nothing less than revolutions of the mind, yet have left only faint traces of themselves as persons, unselved first by the nature of their revolutionary ideas — vast, ab
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This is the great and terrifying truth about the creative life: Anything we make — all this longing for beauty and meaning, all these reckonings and raptures, these most passionate and personal fragments of being — is just a tiny seed compacting everything we are, blown into the wind that is the
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“Out of the cradle onto the dry land… here it is standing… atoms with consciousness… matter with curiosity,” Richard Feynman wrote in his poetic ode to the wonder of life a decade before he won the Nobel Prize in Physics and two decades before these atoms of consciousness sent their most a
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In June 1816, five young people high on romance and rebellion — two still in their teens, one barely out, none beyond their twenties — found themselves in bored captivity at a rented villa on the shore of Lake Geneva as an unremitting storm raged outside for days.
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Vita Sackville-West exulted in a letter to Virginia Woolf early in their courtship, recounting the electric elation of having climbed to the top of a mountain summit to find bright yellow poppies punctuate the eternal snow.
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Every once in a while — perhaps thrice a lifetime, if one is lucky — a book comes along so immensely and intricately insightful, so overwhelming in beauty, that it renders one incapable of articulating what it’s about without contracting its expansive complexity, flattening its dimensional ric
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“Books feed and cure and chortle and collide,” Gwendolyn Brooks wrote in her 1969 love-poem to reading, after the love of books — the reading of them, the making of them — had made her the first black poet to with the Pulitzer Prize.
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There is a myth we live with, the myth of finding the meaning of life — as if meaning were an undiscovered law of physics.
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“Oh, there must be a little bit of air, a little bit of happiness… to let the form be felt… but let the whole be sombre,” Van Gogh wrote to his brother as he exulted in the beauty of sorrow — not in that wallowing way some have of making an identity of their suffering, not in the way our c
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“Whoever has learned how to listen to trees,” Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877–August 9, 1962) wrote in what remains one of humanity’s most beautiful love letters to trees, “no longer wants to be a tree. He* wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
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