On Struggle

This series presents texts from across human history by those who are dissatisfied with the way things are. They view their writing life as a protest, an objection, and a vision of a better life. Plato denounces poets, excludes them from the ideal republic, because they are dreamers and of no practical use to society. But these authors remind us of what Aristotle reminds us of, that poets (writers) reveal the world as it should be.

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On Struggle: Blog Post

My favorite book right now is a six-volume fictionalized autobiography by the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard. He tries to tell his entire life story in roughly 4,000 pages. It is a global bestseller, a prize winner multiple times over, and an inspiration to many. These books are changing the landscape for writers of all stripes (this one included). Knausgaard has given the series the intentionally provocative title “My Struggle.”

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Episode 1: Civil Disobedience-Thoreau

What do you owe this world, into which you did not ask to be born? What is the responsibility of a citizen of a democracy for the violations of human rights that that citizen's country perpetuates in his or her name?

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Episode 2: The Narrative-Douglass

Is this the true foundational text of American history? Douglass testifies to the experience of American slavery with unparalleled eloquence and force.

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Episode 3: Uncle Toms Cabin-Stowe

Is there such a thing as too much forbearance? Stowe's work had a massive impact because of the power of its sentimentality. How do we understand this literary milestone today?

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