The first chapter of Ruth Perry’s groundbreaking biography of Mary Astell, one of England’s earliest known feminists, is titled, “”The Rediscovery of a Woman’s Voice”—arguably Prof. Perry’s deepest concern. Throughout a lifetime of research and teaching, now the Ann Fetter Friedlander Professor of the Humanities at MIT, she has captured the voices of English and Scottish women authors, both celebrated (Jane Austen, Charlotte Lennox) and neglected (Mary Astell, Anna Gordon).
Seriousness. Breadth. Relevance. Scan Professor Kibel’s offerings at MIT’s Open Courseware, and you will be struck by the range of titles: Literature, Ethics, and Authority; Studies in Film; The Art of the Probable; Major European Novels; The End of Nature; Darwin and Design; Tragedy. Is there anything he cannot teach?
In an aikido studio, two people stand facing each other. One grabs the other’s fingers. She pauses and in that second scans the other body—tone, resistance, center of gravity. One decision at the fingers can affect wrist, arm, shoulder, then hip, knee, foot. “You always look for effortless movement,” says Mary Fuller, Professor of Literature and recently appointed Head of the Literature Section at MIT. “The fall shouldn’t feel like pain but like, oh, something happened, and now I’m on the ground.”