The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Reads by Maria Popova

The Story of the Stunning Victorian Algae Herbarium and the Eccentric Balloonist Who Awakened the Terrestrial Imagination to the Enchanted Forest of the Sea
The Story of the Stunning Victorian Algae Herbarium and the Eccentric Balloonist Who Awakened the Terrestrial Imagination to the Enchanted Forest of the Sea

The labor of love that illuminated the wonders of the “unfathomable abyss, too wide, too deep, too vast for perfect exploration by human eye, or intellectual vision.”

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July 3, 1947: The Young Jack Kerouac Coins “Beat” While Grieving His Father
July 3, 1947: The Young Jack Kerouac Coins “Beat” While Grieving His Father

“My conscience of life and eternity is not a mistake, or a loneliness, or a foolishness — but a warm dear love of our poor predicament.”

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Nature and Creativity: The Science of “Soft Fascination” and How the Natural World Presses the Reset Button of the Brain’s Default Mode Network
Nature and Creativity: The Science of “Soft Fascination” and How the Natural World Presses the Reset Button of the Brain’s Default Mode Network

“Our everyday experience does not prepare us to assimilate the gaping hugeness of the Grand Canyon or the crashing grandeur of Niagara Falls. We have no response at the ready; our usual frames of reference don’t fit.”

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Anne Pratt’s Flowers, Ferns, Quiet Ferocity: How a Middle-Aged Victorian Woman Became One of the Great Masters of Scientific Illustration
Anne Pratt’s Flowers, Ferns, Quiet Ferocity: How a Middle-Aged Victorian Woman Became One of the Great Masters of Scientific Illustration

“The beauty of a flower… may serve to awaken an interest in nature, which shall not sleep again.”

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Rebecca Solnit on Writing, Gardening, and the Life of the Mind
Rebecca Solnit on Writing, Gardening, and the Life of the Mind

“As a writer, you withdraw and disconnect yourself from the world in order to connect to it in the far-reaching way that is other people elsewhere reading the words that came together in this contemplative state.”

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Keith Haring on Our Resistance to Change, the Dangers of Certainty, and the Root of Creativity
Keith Haring on Our Resistance to Change, the Dangers of Certainty, and the Root of Creativity

“To be a victim of change is to ignore its existence.”

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The Sea and the Soul: Poet, Painter, and Philosopher Etel Adnan on the Elemental Blues of Being
The Sea and the Soul: Poet, Painter, and Philosopher Etel Adnan on the Elemental Blues of Being

“For seeing the sea it’s sometimes better to close one’s eyes.”

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Myths, Facts, and Poetic Truth: Amy Lowell on Legends as a Lens on Our Elemental Limitations and Powers
Myths, Facts, and Poetic Truth: Amy Lowell on Legends as a Lens on Our Elemental Limitations and Powers

“Legends… are bits of fact, or guesses at fact, pressed into the form of a story and flung out into the world as markers of how much ground has been travelled.”

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Into the Heart of Life: Richard Powers on Living with Bewilderment at the Otherworldly Wonder of Our World
Into the Heart of Life: Richard Powers on Living with Bewilderment at the Otherworldly Wonder of Our World

“That’s the ruling story on this planet. We live suspended between love and ego.”

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Iris Murdoch on the Myth of Closure and the Beautiful, Maddening Blind Spots of Our Self-Knowledge
Iris Murdoch on the Myth of Closure and the Beautiful, Maddening Blind Spots of Our Self-Knowledge

“Judgements on people are never final, they emerge from summings up which at once suggest the need of a reconsideration. Human arrangements are nothing but loose ends and hazy reckoning.”

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