New essays on theological, political, and contemporary themes, by the Pulitzer Prize winnerMarilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as "deeply impressed by obligation and as a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still."...
|Title||:||What Are We Doing Here?|
|Number of Pages||:||336 pages|
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What Are We Doing Here? Reviews
Once again, I relished reading Marilynne Robinson. Bracing as she is, her prose is so precise, beautiful, and surprising that just reading it is reward in itself. And I like being introduced to ideas that expand my understanding of America, who we are, and who we can aspire to be. She is critical and inspirational as well.
These lectures were delivered in various locales from 2015 - 2017, so they are especially timely.
She mentions reading online that she is the very definition of unhip. Not for ...more
My favorite (self-described) biblicist, Calvinist, Edwards-and-Puritan-reputations-rehabilitating, America-and-humanities-and-Western-tradition-defending, mainline Protestant, United Church of Christ liberal.
Robinson is like no other writer I know. I've never seen a more wickedly incisive takedown of reductive materialism. I've never read a better defense of the Puritans, not even from their more direct theological heirs. I've never enjoyed so much having my own political proclivities questioned ...more
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways and have chosen to give my honest opinion about it.
This book was actually such an interesting read! It's always refreshing to see such an inquisitive angle to things we often take for granted, and to challenge our perceptions of the factors in our lives which we consider above us. While some of the ideas here relied a bit too much on biblical literature for my taste, it was overall an intellectually stimulating read that I would definitel ...more
Though she deals with a wide variety of complex intellectual topics, Robinson eschews academic style in favor of a familiar, rich tone which characterizes most of her writing. She writes as a humanist deeply committed to the meaningfulness and freedom of human life rather than as a technician fettered by technical, logical analysis.
These essays range widely from reflections on American intellectual life to Obama's character to theological reflections on America's exceptional origins, but because ...more
Marilynne Robinson’s writings are something of an acquired taste, and this collection of 15 essays drawn mostly from her recent lectures at various universities and religious institutions is no exception. The essays focus on issues at the forefront of the humanities and interweave her wide-ranging thoughts on matters related to history, politics, religion, and literature.
Much of the reading is slow going, especially when the author goes on expansive contemplations of obscure historical and theor ...more
What Are We Doing Here? has been my first foray into Marilynne Robinson's non-fiction essays, and it was like drinking from a fire hose! There is so much density of thought, so much artistry of language, that I am certain I could read it a number of times and still see different and compelling ideas come to the fore in new ways.
Compiled from a number of her lectures from the past few years, this recently-released collection is timely, and Robinson seems to have her finger on the religious, cultu ...more
I just LOVE Marilynne Robinson. This is to say that my review is surely biased.
I’ll be brief. If you’re bored by those subjects to which Robinson *religiously* gravitates—Puritanism, critiques of positivism, Western history, theology, etc.—then yeah, you might find this book unenjoyable, but also frustrating and challenging, which you might find ultimately satisfying.
She repeats herself. Revisits the same subjects and figures, occasionally the same insights. The reason, that these essays first ...more
Short Review: I picked this up because of James KA Smith's review in Comment. That review is excellent. This book I think is less than excellent. I really do love Robinson's writing. She is a great writer and a wide ranging thinker. I love how wide ranging she is. At one point she is talking about another author writing outside of their main field and quips that she isn't going to complain about that since she frequently does the same thing.
But as an essayist I find her unpersuasive, maybe becau ...more