Comforting Conversations, pt.2

Sunday, January 10, 2021
First Aired: 
Sunday, May 24, 2020

What Is It

In troubling, uncertain times, the arts and humanities are more important than ever. Engaging with works of literature can provide both much needed insight into our current struggles and a sense of perspective in a crisis. In what ways do novels or plays help us come to terms with human suffering? Can fictional narratives about past pandemics shed light on our current situation? And how can storytelling or music help bring us together in isolation? Josh and Ray converse with a range of Stanford faculty members about how philosophy, music, drama, and literature can provide comfort, connection, and a sense of community.

  • Ge Wang on making music across great distances
  • Laura Wittman on Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed
  • Harry Elam on August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone
  • Antonia Peacocke on the surprising philosophy of meditation

Comments (1)


Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 -- 8:22 AM

If it were me, and if solace

If it were me, and if solace was needed, I might revisit a perhaps little known work by Frank,Herbert.
This book, read when I was still in high school, helped me make sense of an environment I simply did not understand; people who were also confused by that environment; and the grit necessary to survive the high school. years. I was a stranger there and so were some of my fellow prisoners. The book? Not a blockbuster: The White Plague. What did it do for me? It helped me escape into a fictional world, where things were worse than those in the real one I inhabited.