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What Are We Doing Here?


Marilynne Robinson


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ISBN10: 1250310385
ISBN13: 9781250310385

Trade Paperback

336 Pages


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Marilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson’s peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as “deeply impressed by obligation [and as] a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still.”


Read an Excerpt

What Is Freedom of Conscience?

Director’s Lecture at Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago: May 5, 2016

I assume that conscience is a human trait widespread enough to be generally...

About the author

Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Lila, Home, Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and Housekeeping, and the nonfiction books The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Mother Country, The Death of Adam, and Absence of Mind. She lives in Iowa.

Alec Soth / Magnum Photos

Read Articles by the Author at The New York Review of Book

Read Author Biography at Britannica