“The Givenness of Things”: Marilynne Robinson’s Wide-Ranging Collection of Essays

One of my absolute favourite blogs to follow is “On Art and Aesthetics”. Tulika curates gorgeous posts featuring mainstream and eyebrow-raising artists from across the world and throughout history. I am so far from an art critic that I cannot speak critically to the work she features, but I love every single post. This one, today’s Friday Feature post, is something I actually can talk about.
Marilynne Robinson is one of the leading essayists, storytellers, and Christian public intellectuals in America today. Her collection of essays, The Givenness of Things, makes the links of Christian thought, literary criticism, and a historically-based cultural critique that is absolutely essential today. I hope you hunt down Robinson’s work and enjoy this beautiful blog.

On Art and Aesthetics

Marilynne Robinson speaking at the Covenant Fine Arts Center during an interview at the 2012 Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College by User “Christian Scott Heinen Bell”, Wikipedia [Public Domain]

Marilynne Robinson (born 1943, FB: @MarilynneRobinson) is the only celebrity author in the world whom I have had the opportunity of looking at and listening to in reality. This happened back in November or December of 2013, when she was on a UK visit. I wouldn’t call her stern but there was a steely seriousness and confidence in her that made you want to think long and hard before raising any question, discussing any point related to her artistry or beliefs.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with her – she is an American writer and scholar, the recipient of a National Humanities Medal and Pulitzer Prize, among other accolades. She taught at the Iowa Writers’…

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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15 Responses to “The Givenness of Things”: Marilynne Robinson’s Wide-Ranging Collection of Essays

  1. Tulika B. says:

    Thanks for the re-blog, Brenton! 🙂


  2. L.A. Smith says:

    Oh, marvellous! Gilead is one of my all-time favourite books. So spectacularly beautiful, haunting, and faith-filled in all the best ways. I tried to read Homecoming, I was disappointed in it but I want to try it again, and as well read the other books in the series. I’ve read some of Robinson’s non-fiction, too, and find it bracing. I admire her a great deal and will certainly have a look at this latest collection. She is amazing.


    • I am going to read the Gilead books through, so Home is next for me. Do you mean “Home” or “Housekeeping”? The latter is a strange book!
      Her essays are bracing–especially the ones that critique our soft culture lacking education.


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