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  1. Gifting Information
  2. The Imaginative Process of Thinking
  3. Virtuosity and verse at the service of the imaginative vision – Catholic World Report
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In many ways, the Lutheran Reformation was a reformation of the Christian imagination alongside its theology. Luther went from imagining Christ as a merciless judge to seeing Christ as the one who was mercifully judged in our place. Luther pointed people away from the proud imaginations of their heart — self justification by the law — to free salvation in Christ, where our imagination is redeemed. I believe that God has made me and all creatures. He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them.

To be sure, sin has twisted our imagination into the unbridled subjective chaos we see in our fallen world. However, for Luther, his imagination, like his reason and conscience, was held captive to the Word of God. Unlike Andreas von Karlstadt, and other radical reformers, Luther retained sacred art in the churches. Sacred art was a visual sermon, catechesis for the imagination. By using stained-glass windows, statues, and crucifixes of the church, in illustrative woodcuts in his catechisms and Bible translations, Luther used his imagination in service of the Gospel. Calling all foodies!

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The Imaginative Process of Thinking

Choose a Format. Streaming Included Free. Even when there has been a dominant preference for realism, generation after generation of readers have been drawn to stories of the fantastic not only for what they help us learn about ourselves as individuals and about our collective selves but also for what they show about our social values. Fantastic Works of Literature The imaginative minds of the 19th century did not leave the fantastic to ancient folk tales.

Social Criticism and the Imaginative Mind By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, imaginative minds were creating astonishing and bizarre worlds, weaving into the fabric of their narratives a significant strand of social criticism. View the Breadth of Modern Fantasy Nor has fantasy literature slackened since the early 20th century. The Most Important Fantastic Genre Today Professor Rabkin next delves into science fiction, the genre that claims plausibility against a background of science, while weaving in high adventure and intellectual excitement.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction Early in the 20th century, a popular blend of exciting tales and scientific speculation developed in the democratic milieu of pulp fiction magazines: Even Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan , wrote of rousing adventures on Mars. What Does the Future Hold? Recapture the Joy of Childhood and Learn about the Literature of the Fantastic From talking frogs to human robots, from Mad Hatters to mad scientists, Professor Rabkin's course offers an illuminating journey through the world's most fantastic and imaginative literature. Average 31 minutes each.

Professor Rabkin describes the course structure. In the first half, he will discuss fantastic literature from the earliest fairy tales to modern writers. In the second half, he will discuss the most significant genre of fantastic literature today: science fiction. He introduces the tales of the Brothers Grimm and explores the psychological truths in some of these stories.

In Russian scholar Vladimir Propp discovered the structural universality of oral folk tales and devised several theories about them, including the notions that characters remain stable within a tale and that sequences of key events are the same across cultures. Professor Rabkin discusses E. Hoffmann, a romantic polymath and a spinner of true fantasy tales. He also points out that long before Freud, Hoffmann posited a subconscious more powerful than the conscious. For Hoffmann, the achievement of art depends on both embracing and disciplining the fantastic. Edgar Allan Poe used fantasy and created overpowering emotional effects for his readers by tapping into some of humanity's deepest fantasies and fears: for example, fear of death, fear of loneliness, and fear of one's self.

Poe used art to accommodate his own fears, which, as Professor Rabkin points out, reflects what fairy tales have traditionally done. Lewis Carroll's Alice books make up a composite fantasy that captivates adults by inspiring us to rethink the roles of language, convention, and art in our lives. Here the fantastic is the world of Alice's own imagination. What are the limits of language and logic for understanding our world? Wells was once considered the pre-eminent novelist in English. In works like The Invisible Man, Wells shows how science offers a fantasy revenge against repression, both psychosexual and social.

He argues for stories about issues that affect all people, not, as Henry James preferred, mere individuals. Wells analyzed the modern world but on a foundation of fairy tales.

Dr. Bradley Birzer - Preserving the Western Tradition

Franz Kafka, an alienated man, recreated his life through parables of the fantastic. He drew his characters from the world of everyday experience and put them into settings that are familiar but situations that are fantastic. Professor Rabkin analyzes several stories, showing how Kafka criticizes social institutions as holding the potential for assistance but never giving any. Virginia Woolf, who felt repressed in society because of her female sex, found consolation in the imaginative mind. Thus, in her fantastic novel, Orlando, the protagonist begins as a male in the Elizabethan era and ends up a mother in the s.

It is a retelling of the Oedipus myth, suggesting ways to confront and erase that myth. Professor Rabkin pays tribute to the Arthurian legends of England and recounts how J.

Virtuosity and verse at the service of the imaginative vision – Catholic World Report

Tolkien built on these fantasy materials to create his monumental trilogy Lord of the Rings. Professor Rabkin also discusses Tolkien's stories "Farmer Giles of Ham" and "Leaf by Niggle," showing how these tales too reflect Tolkien's deepest notions of politics and religion. In this lecture, Professor Rabkin examines children's literature, pointing out that the loose constraints on it invite the fantastic.

Seuss, and Norton Juster. Rabkin notes that children's literature has contributed to fantasy and imagination that enrich adult literature, for example, George Orwell's Animal Farm. Postmodernism, the current literary age, tends to view Nature as a matter of perspective, and shares important traits with fantasy literature.


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  • Professor Rabkin concentrates on science fiction, defining it as a fantastic genre that claims its plausibility against a background of science. The novel, Frankenstein, is the first fully achieved science fiction novel. It grew out of a form of Romanticism called Gothicism that Shelley re-formed in a crucial new way.

    The novel is not about science but about what goes wrong with it when controlled by an egoist. Significant Hawthorne stories reflect the important Eden Complex, a concept discovered by Professor Rabkin, one element of which is a character striving to be godlike or to twist nature for his own ends. Poe too used Eden Complex constructs, with female roles played by symbols such as a whirlpool, a pit, or a bed.

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    Jules Verne combined love of science with satire. Wells used science fiction as parables for political and philosophical criticism. Utopian literature is fantastic and can assume three forms: a utopia can be pleasant, ambiguous, or horrible. Lately, most have been horrible—as in the novels We, , and Brave New World—and they challenge readers to change society. Both science fiction and religion, although based on different notions of authority, try to better human life. Thus, science fiction sometimes uses religious speculation to explore spiritual concerns.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs, who wrote about planets and unexplored continents, was a successful practitioner of pulp fiction. Ray Bradbury's groundbreaking The Martian Chronicles helped make the transformation from pulp fiction to subtler, more thoughtful science fiction. Robert A. Heinlein's social imagination, his "hard science fiction"; extrapolation, and superior craftsmanship, represents the best of a generation of American science fiction. His stories embody a strongly libertarian critique of modern American life. Clarke A Space Odyssey were trained scientists as well as prolific authors.

    Both thought that humanity was perfectible and could achieve a good utopia—but first had to wake up to its shortcomings. Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the most challenging writers of science fiction today. Her stories include genderless people, thus challenging gender stereotypes, and she also weaves Taoist philosophy into her novels. Le Guin's stories offer multiple changes of viewpoint to change attitudes toward language, human relations, and morality. Professor Rabkin's final lecture examines the latest trends in science fiction. Dick, whose fiction inspired the movie Blade Runner; New Wave; and Cyberpunk, an outgrowth of cybernetics and punk music.

    He ends by suggesting that we now live in a science fiction world. Clone Content from Your Professor tab. What Does Each Format Include?

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    Course Guidebook Details: page printed course guidebook Suggested readings Questions to consider Timeline. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract. About Your Professor Eric S. Eric S. Rabkin is the Arthur F. He earned his bachelor's degree at Cornell University and his Ph. Professor Rabkin received the Golden Apple Award, given annually by students for the outstanding teacher at the University of Michigan.