Tag Archives: philosophy/religion

Cultural Literacy: Jorge Luis Borges

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Jorge Luis Borges. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions–a spare but reasonably effective introduction to a major figure (whom, to my deep chagrin, I have not read) in world literature.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Magic Realism

Magic Realism: (Sp, lo real maravilloso) A term introduced by Alejo Carpentier, in his prologue to El reino do este mundo (1949; tr The Kingdom of This World, 1957). The Cuban novelist was searching for a concept broad enough to accommodate both the events of everyday life and the fabulous nature of Latin American geography and history. Carpentier, who was greatly influenced by French surrealism, saw in magic realism the capacity to enrich our idea of what is ‘real” by incorporating all dimensions of the imagination, particularly as expressed in magic, myth, and religion.

In the hands of [Gabriel] Garcia Marquez and other writers of the Boom period, magic realism became a distinctly Latin American mode, an indigenous style for their explorations of history, culture, and politics. This narrative technique has influenced writers around the world.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Miguel de Cervantes

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Miguel de Cervantes. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two short sentences and two comprehension questions. A nice little symmetry that includes mention of Don Quixote.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy:

Here, finally on this Friday morning, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of the clockwork universe. This is a half-page document with a two-sentence reading (the second of them a long compound) and three comprehension questions–with two of them on the same line. This is a spare but relatively thorough summary of the concept of the clockwork universe.

In any case, like almost everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document, so you can tailor it to the needs of your students.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: John Calvin and Calvinism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on John Calvin and his doctrine, Calvinism. This is a half-page worksheet that contains two readings from The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. They are separated. The first is on John Calvin the man, and is two-sentences; the second is on the doctrine of Calvinism, and is four-sentences long. Three comprehension questions follow both of these readings. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but a recent Secretary of Education of the United States apparently believed all that nonsense about predestination in Calvinist doctrine.

As with virtually everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document, so you can manipulate it for the needs of your students. I thought these combine well, but they also might be better off separated into two separate documents. You can do with it as you wish.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Stephen Hawking

I don’t know how germane they are to the high school curriculum in general (I prepared these documents for two students several years ago, and haven’t used them since), but here are a reading on Stephen Hawking along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Professor Hawking has always been in my mind something in the line of Nietzsche’s ubermensch, especially in that terms expectation of self-overcoming.

In any case though, a certain kind of student (e.g. the two for whom I developed this material) finds Stephen Hawking, appropriately enough, a fascinating figure. This material is for that student.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Isaac Newton

Here is a reading on Isaac Newton with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This is a solid introduction to Newton; I have used it as a prelude to framing the Enlightenment in global studies classes in New York City. Otherwise, editorially, I assume I need not belabor the importance of Isaac Newton in the history of the world, let alone the intellectual history of Western Europe.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: L’Encyclopedie

“Who edited L’Encyclopedie? Denis Diderot (17013-84), French philosopher. This compendium of knowledge was published in thirty-five volumes between 1751 and 1776. It was meant to cover all aspects of life and embodied the rationalistic ideals of the Enlightenment. Contributers included Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Euclid

Here is a reading on Euclid along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This is, as so many of the readings from the Intellectual Devotional series tend to be, a nice one-page conspectus on the author of The Elements, and the influences that led to the creation of this, essentially the world’s first first geometry textbook–which is, unsurprisingly, available across the internet in a variety of PDFs. The first one that pops up (under that hyperlink) is from a physicist named Richard Fitzpatrick at the University of Texas; it’s free of advertising clutter and, to the extent of my limited knowledge of the subject, well organized.

Also, in researching this post, I learned that the first of the five volumes in the Intellectual Devotional series is available as a free e-book under that hyperlink (at least at the time of this post’s publication), should you be interested.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Thomas Edison on the Labor of Thought

“There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.”

Thomas Edison

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.