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Poetry Stimulates the Brain’s Reward-Anticipation Arousal Near Ends of Stanzas

I fixed the NY Mag’s clickbaity title, “This is what happens to your brain when you read poetry.” In fact the original study was about what happens when you listen to a recitation, not what happens when you read. While people “get chills” when they listen to music or watch movies, their brains seem to respond uniquely to poetry, anticipating an emotional rush as they near the end of a…

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Actors can’t play Hamlet as simply mad in world of mental health awareness, actor says

How does our 21st century understanding of mental health affect our understanding of Hamlet? As a teacher, I have for decades approached the play like this: If everyone in the audience agrees that Hamlet was sane or Hamlet was mad, then the production was a failure; Shakespeare’s text was ambiguous, and a good production should preserve that ambiguity. The director should guide the actor to make conscious choices about what…

Liberal Arts Majors Are the Future of the Tech Industry

My sister the computer programmer benefitted early in her career because she was an excellent writer. She was so good at taking notes that people would invite to her important meetings so there would be a good record, and people would consult her about important topics covered during those meetings. My brother the electrical engineer knows how to treat customers; he smiles, spends time with them, listens to their concerns,…

Scholars’ unconvincing case about the value of the humanities (essay)

A literary work is a powerful tool for simulating what it’s like to inhabit someone else’s life. Not just tolerating difference, or grudgingly giving “the other side” equal time; but generating real empathy for the diversity of humanity. There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll…