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Director's Lecture

Marilynne Robinson, “What Is Freedom of Conscience?”


Event Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and essayist Marilynne Robinson is one of the nation's most prominent defenders of the liberal arts. She received the National Humanities Medal in 2012 and has devoted much of her recent writing to a series of a nuanced, search essays in wihch she dissects and defends the humanities and secular humanism. Robinson brought to her Director's Lecture the same intelligence and moral seriousness that readers have come to expect from her novels and nonfiction. Grounding her meditation on conscience with a wide range of historical, biblical, and literary references, she aimed to restore a sense of urgency to a subject that, she argued, has faded from contemporary public discussion.

Related Media

“Democracy’s Fierce Defender” (Review of Marilynne Robinson’s collection of essays, What Are We Doing Here?, which includes the essay “What is Freedom of Conscience?”, The New York Times, March 9, 2018)

What Are We Doing Here? (Marilynne Robinson, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 20, 2018)

“What is Freedom of Conscience?” (An essay by Marilynne Robinson examining themes from her Director’s Lecture, The American Scholar, December 4, 2017)