On Apathy as a Scholar

Robyn Pritzker | 7 August 2017.

As a humanities researcher (and as a human), I am often reminded about the importance of caring: empathy, sympathy, and general sensitivity to my environment are some of the important values that supposedly distinguish the humanist from their scientific or otherwise quantitative counterparts. As humanists, we study culture, literature, language, and other facets of the world expected to inspire feeling or indicate meaning (freedom, beauty, truth, and love, even)! Working on a long-term independent project like a thesis, we are absorbed by our research, or we absorb it, depending on the day.

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The Strange Case of Fanny Stevenson and Literary Partnership

March 21, 2016 | Robyn Pritzker.

Amongst the most misunderstood literary partnerships to date is that of Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson. The two coauthored several volumes, to wide critical disapproval, and Fanny was her husband’s amanuensis and editor for many years through his bouts of ill health. Fanny was an artist in her own right, a trained painter and an author who penned several short stories and captivating travel diaries during her family’s extensive travels across Europe, North America, and the Pacific Islands. Robert Louis Stevenson frequently mentioned their collaboration in his letters, referencing the two of them hard at work together on his latest pieces[1], but nonetheless critics and biographers like Frank McLynn and T.C. Livingstone have long asserted that Fanny’s influence was minimal if not actually detrimental.

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