From the Wall Street Journal’s review of Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, Home:
Ms. Robinson found herself having to explain how, as she puts it, “the Middle West was intentionally civilized.” Protestant New Englanders came west to establish schools like Grinnell and Knox College — and towns like Gilead — as beacons of civilization and outposts of abolitionism intended to halt the spread of slavery. “The wealth of intellectual life that was produced out of that had everything to do with the development of American intellectual life generally,” she says.
“They were teaching Greek and Latin in the middle of nowhere, on the assumption that the most valuable quality of culture — high literacy — was something that ought to be generally available and freely available. These were people who could have lived very comfortable lives if they’d stayed [back east] — and probably some meaningful percentage of them froze to death.”
Read an excerpt from Marilynne Robinson’s new novel at the Wall Street Journal.
From the Chicago Tribune:
The tough economy hasn’t affected enrollment at many of Illinois’ universities — and in some cases may be helping it — according to statistics that show the state is following a national trend of steady increases….
….Although final enrollment figures for this fall won’t be available until next year, many schools say the number of students is up. And some universities have seen sharp jumps in applications.
Enrollment at the University of Illinois‘ three campuses has risen 1 percent, to 71,449, with similar increases at other state schools including Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Illinois State University, and at small private schools such as Bradley University and Knox College.
Those increases reflect a broad national trend of steady growth, said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
“Demand is very strong for higher education,” he said.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Throughout almost all the experimental version of “Dracula” at the Building Stage, they don’t say a single word, instead treating the whole thing as a kind of creepy graphic novel or silent movie, replete with stylized gestures and little bits of projected text. No problem there. You don’t go to “Dracula” for the dialogue. You go for the exposed necks and the intrusive fangs…..
Like most of the work at the Building Stage, one of the few Chicago theaters in the West Loop, this is a consistently interesting and progressive piece. Among its assets is a remarkably sensual sound design from David Amaral that features the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. Thanks to surround sound that has the throbbing score coming at you from all directions, it’s quite the immersing experience.
Not all elements of the production are as successful. The acting—from a mostly young cast—is a very mixed bag with some performers over-emoting, and thus making the show fall into the very traps it is supposed to be fighting. Others (such as Meghan Reardon) naturally embrace the requisite minimalist but precise ambience.