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Jane Eyre and the Invention of the Self

Those who remember Jane Eyre solely as required reading in high-school English class likely recall most vividly its over-the-top Gothic tropes: a childhood banishment to a death-haunted room, a mysterious presence in the attic, a Byronic hero, and a cold mansion going up in flames. It’s more seemingly the stuff of Lifetime television, not revolutions. But as unbelievable as many of the events of the novel are, even today, Brontë’s biggest accomplishment…

Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read

It was pleasurable to encounter a familiar reference to Plato’s Phaedrus (which I just assigned in my Media & Culture class) in this Atlantic article on memory in the digital information age. With its streaming services and Wikipedia articles, the internet has lowered the stakes on remembering the culture we consume even further. But it’s hardly as if we remembered it all before. Plato was a famous early curmudgeon when…

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The Cover Letter That Led to Awesome Interviews

When I do a career planning unit, I am often amused by the students who list “design skills” or “very creative” on their resumes, yet use the exact same MS-Word default resume template. A second observation is that students typically used their cover letters to describe their own emotions (e.g. as their burning desire for the job), rather than demonstrate their understanding of why their own skills match the employer’s…