March 11th, 2011
Back home from Rhode Island…

… and I’ll have a chance to blog a bit later this evening, I think, after I rest up.

March 1st, 2011
UD has a new post up at Inside Higher Education.

It’s about Ubu the King and Bernard Madoff and Moammar Gaddafi.

February 27th, 2011
“Tea With Mussolini” …

… is the title of my just-published post at Inside Higher Education. It’s about intellectuals and the Gaddafis.

February 10th, 2011
My little memory of Christopher Lasch…

… is now up at Inside Higher Ed.


February 9th, 2011
I’ve spent a lot of time today…

… reading a biography of Christopher Lasch, and writing a piece about it – and him – for Inside Higher Education.

I’ll link you to the piece when I’ve finished it, later this evening.

February 1st, 2011
“[A]cademia can be accused of speaking only to the converted…

… of working within carefully defined circles of the like-minded, and of avoiding the controversies of public debate. The blogs may be a way for changing that, and it could be that academic bloggers are on the leading edge of creating not just an ‘invisible college,’ but a broadening of education as a whole, taking it beyond boundaries of departments and universities to all who might wish to join in on any particular topic or question. Certainly, a blog like Margaret Soltan’s University Diaries does attempt to take on the assumptions of academia…”

Blogging America: The New Public Sphere, by Aaron Barlow

January 5th, 2011
I’ve just finished a little essay about…

… Tony Judt’s memoir, The Memory Chalet, for Inside Higher Education. I’ll let you know when it appears on that site.


Here tis. The Three Solipsisms of Tony Judt.

January 3rd, 2011
University Diaries…

… has spent much of today cleaning her house. She’s almost finished. At some point this evening, she hopes to post on the following subjects:

1. Tea. Christopher Hitchens has something to say about the subject, and it is of course a category on this blog, since UD is a mad tea drinker. She pens poems to it… New Years stir deep thoughts, and some of the deepest thoughts have to do with tea. I’ll also say a word or two about this Hitchens interview .

2. Having read Tony Judt’s Memory Chalet while I was in Cambridge and Vermont (Judt has much in common with Hitchens; maybe I can fold my Judt remarks into the tea post.), I’ll post some thoughts about that.

3. This one’s short, so I’ll just post it here:

After only a year, Yeshiva University has lost (fired?) its first chief investment officer. With an overpaid president, a board of trustees only recently boasting the Madoff/Merkin investment partnership, possible clawback action from Irving Picard, and an internecine, no comment, corporate culture, Yeshiva has a lot of problems. To lose a CIO so quickly looks like another problem.

4. Oh and you know what else? See that post a few posts under this one about whooshing up experiences? I think I had one at the New Year’s party I went to.

Nothing obviously dramatic about it, but I had a rather long conversation with a fourteen-year-old girl named Liv. Liv lives (that was fun to type) in Norway, but is immensely fluent in English; and Liv loves (that was fun too) to read novels.

“Jane Austen and the Brontes – I don’t like them.”

The outrageous confidence with which Liv said this comported strangely with her thin high little girl voice.

“Why not?”

“People don’t really change in those novels. My favorite novel is The Secret Garden. So many people change! Mary Lennox, and Colin, and Colin’s father… ”

“I love that novel too. We have a copy at our little house in the country, and I have a tradition of taking it off the shelf first thing when we get there and reading it again … I think you might be right about the Brontes — roughly speaking anyway. Austen’s another story – people change like mad in Austen. Try Pride and Prejudice.”

“They might change – but they don’t change in a big way. And in The Secret Garden, it’s not just people. It’s places! The garden is all dead, and then it’s all flowers …”

“I see what you mean…”

We went on like that at length, finessing the matter of personal and earthly transformation and its relation to literary quality, and I guess the whooshing up moment came for me when I realized I’m talking literary criticism with a fourteen-year-old from Norway and she’s making an intriguing point and we’re batting it around…!

Maybe it’s wasn’t whooshing so much as welling – a welling up of pleasure at the sight of UD as a fourteen-year-old with blond hair at a New Year’s party… Because Liv was like me at that age.

And a welling up of emotion not only at a kind of self-recognition, but at my gradual realization that I had found and was now delicately exploring real literary sensitivity in Liv, and that her forms of sensitivity were fascinating and moving.

January 2nd, 2011
An excellent philosophy blog that …

likes yours trUDly … has been featured – or, rather the book it spun off has been featured – in David Brooks’ end-of-year column at the New York Times.

The most real things in life, [the book’s authors] write, well up and take us over. They call this experience “whooshing up.” We get whooshed up at a sports arena, at a political rally or even at magical moments while woodworking or walking through nature.

Dreyfus and Kelly say that we should have the courage not to look for some unitary, totalistic explanation for the universe. Instead, we should live perceptively at the surface, receptive to the moments of transcendent whooshes that we can feel in, say, a concert crowd, or while engaging in a meaningful activity, like making a perfect cup of coffee with a well-crafted pot and cup.

We should not expect these experiences to cohere into a single “meaning of life.” Transcendent experiences are plural and incompatible. We should instead cultivate a spirit of gratitude and wonder for the many excellent things the world supplies.

December 29th, 2010
UD Welcomes Readers from TaxProf…


Now that you’re here, feel free to look around.

December 14th, 2010
UD has written a post about Mark Madoff’s suicide…

… for Inside Higher Education. Title: MARK MADOFF’S POSTMODERN SUICIDE.

November 3rd, 2010
UD’s latest Inside Higher Education post…

… titled PARTY ON, reviews a new book: The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child, and What You Can Do About It.

October 6th, 2010
University Diaries is proud to be listed among…

… the Sports Sites I Like on Wendy Parker’s sports blog, Wendy’s Parker’s Extracurriculars.

University Diaries! A sports site!!

September 23rd, 2010
University Diaries welcomes readers from…

… the blog Universal Hub, which seems to be all about Boston.

Readers there are linking to, Twittering, and Facebooking UD‘s post on the suicide in Harvard Yard.

September 14th, 2010
A UD Reader in Beijing…

… reports that University Diaries is blocked in China.

UD checked it out.

[The ban on] WordPress in China could have been lifted had [the company] agreed to block certain words or topics and give up information to the Chinese communist government about [WordPress] users.

… Unlike other [internet] giants, WordPress took a more ethical stand[,] refusing to comply with the Chinese diktats[,] and WP blogs therefore still remain blocked in China. The situation is likely to stay the same forever unless China relaxes their censorship laws which again sounds like a remote possibility.


… RSS feeds [allow you to] read any blog using a web based feed … even if the main WordPress site is blocked.

In case of WordPress blogs, you can append the string “” to the blog URL and it should open just fine. For instance, if the main blog is located at, you can access a mirror image of this site from

Note that at the top of this page there’s a Subscribe to UD’s Feeds feature. That should work.

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