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,…

Love of Literature and the Will To Live
In this video clip, Robert D. Newman shares how his friend Brooke Hopkins found meaning for his life after a tragic accident through his love of literature and teaching. This moving account speaks to how literature and the humanities classroom…

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…

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