A response to new learning:
“It wasn’t shocking; it was mysterious and beautiful; one felt no resentment, only a different kind of joy, and a curiosity that was new to me.”
Robert Hughes, “My Friend Robert Rauschenberg,” in The Spectacle of Skill (2015).
A favorite Baudelaire aphorism, on the purpose of study:
Je resous de trouver le pourquoi, et de transformer ma volupté en connaisance.
—I made up my mind to find out the why of it, and to change my pleasure into knowledge.
Robert Hughes on the “unspoken but always present motto” for his book and television series The Shock of the New. In Hughes, “The Shock of the New,” The Spectacle of Skill (2015). (My friendly amendment: not simply to change pleasure into knowledge, but to charge each with the other.)
A reminder of our stewardship as scholars, and our failings:
“Repeatedly, we will find scholars using theory–or simply attitude–to burn through whatever is small, tender, and worthy of protection and cultivation. Academic cool is a cast of mind that disdains interpersonal kindness, I-thou connection, and the line separating the self from the outer world and the engulfing collective.”
Lisa Ruddick, “When Nothing Is Cool,” in The Point.
And finally, a crucial observation about writing:
“[T]he real challenge of writing is not mechanical, but epistemological: how we say something isn’t separable from what we know and how we think we know it.”
Angelika Bammer and Ruth-Ellen Boetcher Joeres,”Introduction,” in The Future of Scholarly Writing: Critical Interventions, ed. Angelika Bammer & Ruth-Ellen Boetcher Joeres (2015).