Closer Readings +

Emily Dickinson's The Language of Flowers

The Rose_The Myrtle_The Ivy.” Illustrated plate from The Language of flowers
How oft does an emblem-bud silently tell What language could never speak half so well!—Louisa Anne Twamley, Romance of Nature (1836)As this quote suggests, in the 19th century, flowers and their hidden meanings often spoke more powerfully than words—conveying the underlying emotions and sentiments of the sender—but Emily Dickinson gardener/poet had a profound mastery of both!Read More »

A Valentine from Emily

Detail Victorian Valentine. Brooklyn Museum
Valentine's Day in mid-19th-century America was a week-long celebration of friendship. In that era, the week leading up to February 14 was filled with exchanges of witty, whimsical, hand-written notes between friends who were not always romantically involved.Emily Dickinson was no exception. During Valentine’s week, 1850, the 20-year old writer penned this couplet, which opens a longer poem that was delivered to Elbridge Bowdoin, a law partner of her father and a family-friend.Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Q and A with Humanities Practitioners: Carol Mattusch

Carol Mattusch
Carol C. Mattusch, Mathy Professor of Art History, emerita, at George Mason University, has taught and lectured on Greek and Roman art and archaeology and on the rediscovery of the ancient world on the Bay of Naples. Over the course of a notable career, she has curated two museum exhibits and served on the advisory committee for Power & Pathos, for which she also wrote an essay for the catalogue as well as three entries for the D.C.Read More »
Categories Closer Readings

Crime and Punishment turns 150!

Znamenskii Place, St. Petersburg, c. 1890–1900. Detroit Publishing Co. Library o
All is in a man's hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that's an axiom. It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most.—Fydor DostoyevskyRead More »
Categories Closer Readings

Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King

The Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, Washington, DC
On the third Monday of January, Americans celebrate the life and achievement of one of our most respected citizens—Martin Luther King, Jr.  Read More »
Categories Closer Readings