Humanities Moments

Purple Heart, Purple Prose

Contributed by Wendy Griswold, professor of sociology, Northwestern University
War dog in training, circa 1940
Griswold recalls how a childhood encounter with a sentimental, “middlebrow” poem about a dog and a veteran (which makes her cry to this day) tapped into wells of empathy. She explains how such responses to aesthetic experiences, so often downplayed in academic inquiry, deserve our sustained attention—and even respect.

Title

Purple Heart, Purple Prose

Description

Griswold recalls how a childhood encounter with a sentimental, “middlebrow” poem about a dog and a veteran (which makes her cry to this day) tapped into wells of empathy. She explains how such responses to aesthetic experiences, so often downplayed in academic inquiry, deserve our sustained attention—and even respect.

Source

“They Called Him Rags,” by Edmund Vance Cooke, featured in The Best Loved Poems of the American People

Contributor

Wendy Griswold, professor of sociology, Northwestern University

Identifier

wendy-griswold-purple-prose

Referrer

2017–18 Fellow