The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Reads by Maria Popova

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.”

read article

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.”

read article

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.”

read article

Artist and Philosopher Rockwell Kent on Our Existential Wanderlust
Artist and Philosopher Rockwell Kent on Our Existential Wanderlust

“Wander where you will over all the world, from every valley seeing forever new hills calling you to climb them, from every mountain top farther peaks enticing you… until you stand one day on the last peak on the border of the interminable sea, stopped by the finality of that.”

read article

The Only Valiant Way to Complain Is to Create: William Blake and the Stubborn Courage of the Unexampled
The Only Valiant Way to Complain Is to Create: William Blake and the Stubborn Courage of the Unexampled

“The Eye altering alters all.”

read article

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.”

read article

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.”

read article

Octavia Butler on the Meaning of God
Octavia Butler on the Meaning of God

On change, the measure of intelligence, the courage to take responsibility for our own lives.

read article

Humanity’s First Cosmic Gallery of Children’s Art: What the Youngest Members of Our Young Species Most Cherish About Life on Earth
Humanity’s First Cosmic Gallery of Children’s Art: What the Youngest Members of Our Young Species Most Cherish About Life on Earth

An illustrated love letter to our Pale Blue Dot by humanity’s most innocent scale models of the universe.

read article

Barry Lopez on Storytelling and His Advice on the Three Steps to Becoming a Writer
Barry Lopez on Storytelling and His Advice on the Three Steps to Becoming a Writer

“It is through story that we embrace the great breadth of memory, that we can distinguish what is true, and that we may glimpse, at least occasionally, how to live without despair in the midst of the horror that dogs and unhinges us.”

read article

View Full Site

The Marginalian participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from any link on here, I receive a small percentage of its price, which goes straight back into my own colossal biblioexpenses. Privacy policy. (TLDR: You're safe — there are no nefarious "third parties" lurking on my watch or shedding crumbs of the "cookies" the rest of the internet uses.)