Humanities Moments

Items in the Robert D. Newman Collection

On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings
The disturbing art of Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon often violates formal boundaries of the human. Consequently, a visit to a retrospective of Bacon’s work at the Hirschhorn Museum left Robert D. Newman deeply unsettled. As a humanities…

Censoring Slaughterhouse-Five
In this excerpt of a talk given at the National Humanities Center, Robert D. Newman discusses an exemplary humanities moment, when Kurt Vonnegut responded to the banning and burning of Vonnegut’s book Slaughterhouse-Five by school officials in Drake,…

When Breath Becomes Air
Just as he was completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. When Breath Becomes Air, the memoir Kalanithi wrote in the midst of his illness, traces his journey from brilliant…