Category Archives: Object Lessons

Object Lessons NEH Institute, 2017 & 2018

By | May 10, 2017

Now more than ever, we need smart writing for broad audiences. Since we launched Object Lessons in 2013, we’ve been delighted by the overwhelming interest in our books and essays. This “crossover” approach to smart writing for a general audience has proved to be an appealing alternative for a range of authors, and the final… Read More »

Silencing Women

By | September 28, 2016

An excerpt from the Object Lessons book Silence by John Biguenet In our first visit to Florence, while still students, my wife and I found a little restaurant near our bat-infested pensione as sunset turned the Arno bronze. Having been raised by her grandmother from Viareggio, the nearby beach resort, Marsha ordered our meal in… Read More »

Password

By | August 19, 2016

Guest post by Martin Paul Eve What does it mean to write a cultural history of passwords? Aren't passwords, after all, digital phenomena, part of computers and the internet? Surely passwords aren't really old enough to have a history? Well, Ali Baba's “Open Sesame” suggests otherwise. As does Aeneas Tacitus's account of Roman siege defence… Read More »

Dust Specks

By | March 10, 2016

Guest post by Michael Marder Note: The small fragments on dust gathered here are based on my nearly daily tweets on the subject @michael_marder. Besides their belatedness, there is no reason why they could not have been a part of my book Dust (Object Lessons). Prelude Twitter generates and spreads the dust of thought: dispersed, inessential,… Read More »

Bookshelves at Sea

By | March 3, 2016

Guest post by Lydia Pyne The winter of 1845-46 was rough for the Franklin Expedition. Between tuberculosis, exposure, pneumonia, scurvy, and lead poisoning, the expedition’s entire crew died before that winter was out, trapped in the Victoria Strait by the treacherous Canadian Arctic ice with ‘only’ 2,900 books from the ships’ bookshelves for company. Lieutenant… Read More »

“A Nightmare for the Spirit”: Solitude and Silence as Punishment

By | February 11, 2016

Guest Post by John Biguenet On January 25, 2016, The Washington Post published an op-ed by President Obama explaining his decision to ban solitary punishment for juveniles in federal prisons. A related article by Juliet Eilperin, the Post’s White House bureau chief, outlines the recent history of this issue, noting that “As many as 100,000 state and federal… Read More »

To dust, or not to dust?

By | February 4, 2016

Guest post by Michael Marder To dust, or not to dust? That is not the question. We have no other choice but to do both things at the same time: dusting as in tidying up our dwellings—an arduous and infinite task—and as in spreading the dust of our bodies and clothes around. A key lesson… Read More »

On Silence by John Biguenet

By | November 11, 2015

From Surrounded by Souvenirs of Life: A Conversation with John Biguenet by Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais (The Los Angeles Review of Books, November 3, 2015)   How long have you wanted to write about silence? What drew you to the subject? When I was approached by the publisher and asked if I would write a… Read More »

Some Lessons from Object Lessons

By | November 3, 2015

Guest post by Christopher Schaberg Earlier this past month when I emailed the Advisory Board of the Object Lessons series to announce the release of our six latest titles (Silence, Phone Booth, Hotel, Waste, Refrigerator, and Glass), I was delighted by one common theme in board members’ responses: several of them planned to teach classes… Read More »