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The hand is my feeler with which I reach through isolation and darkness and seize every pleasure, every activity that my fingers encounter. With the dropping of a little word from another’s hand into mine, a slight flutter of the fingers, began the intelligence, the joy, the fullness of my life. - Helen Keller, “A Chat About the Hand” (1905) We may never be able to think and feel as deeply with our hands as Keller did. Having lost the ability to both see and hear before the age of two, Keller had more reason than most of us to... Read More

The art of disagreement

“Everybody gave parties. And there was a lot of drinking. Some visiting literary celebrity would show up, Partisan Review would make a party or I would make a party. Everybody came. And it was a really passionate intellectual life. It’s hard to imagine today, but people actually came to blows over literary disagreements,” said Norman Podhoretz in this 2017 interview with John Leland for the New York Times. It’s not hard to imagine coming to blows with friends and family--and not just over literary disagreements. Often we put our faith in a system, an arrangement, a technique, a gharana or... Read More