Mark Bauerlein, senior editor of First Things, makes the case for reading good literature. The reason? It can change our lives: “If you can’t make a case for a discipline on the basis of the actual objects studied by that discipline, it’s doomed. The field needs to have confidence in the things it takes as its subject matter. Apparently, though, [we]  don’t believe that great novels and paintings and historical events are sufficient to justify the humanities. They turn to instrumental values instead, what studying those things will do to students’ cognition. . . . We need to be able to say to incoming students, ‘In this course, you are going to encounter words and images and ideas that are going to change your life. We’ve got Hamlet and Lear, Achilles and David, Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Bennett, Augustine’s pears and Van Gogh’s stars—beauty and sublimity and truth. If you miss them, you will not be the person you could be.'” See First Things, March 18, 2015

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