Magazine article Humanities

Editor's Note

Magazine article Humanities

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

Storytellers come in many guises. This year's Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities arrives in a lab coat with a literary paperback stuffed in her pocket. She is Rita Charon, an esteemed professor of medicine at Columbia University and a scholar of Henry James. She is also an unusually gifted speaker with an important message: What medicine needs, she says, can be found in the humanities.

Anyone who considers modern health care to be an alienating experience will appreciate her interview with NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. In thoughtful, erudite language, the good doctor administers a bracing dose of warmth and ethical seriousness about the mortal challenges that face all of us, doctor and patient alike. If you would like to attend the lecture, it is taking place on October 15 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Tickets are free. Check the NEH website for information.

A story about Napoleon may seem like an oddly chosen second course, but it also represents NEH and its efforts to bring the humanities to all Americans. An NEH Public Scholar, Mark Braude has written an excellent volume called The Invisible Emperor: Napoleon on Elba from Exile to Escape, which we have excerpted to provide you with a striking portrait of the great conqueror as he sails to Elba, after the Allies took Paris in 1814. …

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