Do people still need to study the humanities? You’d think the answer is “yes, of course,” but the issue is far more complicated than that. In a bid to sort it out, The New Republic recently asked a group of former university presidents to give their viewpoints on the matter. Sample quote: “Humanities faculty have too often conspired well.” Pair with: our own Nick Ripatrazone on coming to writing from outside the humanities.
The modern maestros of fantasy at Bethesda Softworks penned thousands of pages of text for the Elder Scrolls series, scattering 256 detail-packed, in-game books across 2006’s Oblivion, with a commensurate amount in 2002’s Morrowind. Presumably these tomes were consumed by the hardcore few. Did Bethesda spend countless hours of careful word-crafting for a fanatical minority?
In general, fact-checking isn’t the most glamorous part of a journalist’s career, which is why Michael Erard was surprised to find that a recent fact-checking session for an Al Jazeera article turned out to be among the most interesting conversations of his life. Why? His sources were linguists, and their job was to explain to him the workings of brand-new sign languages.
“At home, I dedicate occasional whole days to reading as if I’m a convalescent. The ideal place for this is the bath, where the body floats free,” Rachel Kushner told The New York Times in a “By the Book” interview. Yet just because her reading style is leisurely doesn’t mean her reading is; she discusses her love of Proust and avoidance of books known for their plots. For more Kushner, read our own interview with her or her 2013 Year in Reading post.