Robert Hellenga


Born
in The United States
August 05, 1941

Died
July 18, 2020

Website


In a discussion of his teaching interests, Hellenga said that he was "very interested in the nature of literary experience, which is affective as well as interpretative. What is this experience like? Why do we value it so highly?"

Hellenga advised readers to pay attention to feelings as well as interpretations. "The heavy emphasis we place on interpretation has pushed questions about the affective dimension of literary experience to the periphery of literary studies. I'd like to nudge them a little closer to the center."

Hellenga joined the Knox faculty in 1968 and continued to teach long after his formal retirement in 2005. His wide-ranging academic interests encompassed composition and writing of fiction and poetry, Malory, Milton, English
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More books by Robert Hellenga…
“He doesn't believe in talking too much about art, especially while you're looking at it. The pressure to appreciate is the great enemy of actual enjoyment. Most people don't know what they like because they feel obligated to like so many different things. They feel they're supposed to be overwhelmed, so instead of looking, they spend their time thinking up something to say, something intelligent, or at least clever.”
Robert Hellenga, The Sixteen Pleasures
tags: art

“Fussing over food was important. It gave a shape to the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner; beginning, middle, end.”
Robert Hellenga, Philosophy Made Simple

“It took him half an hour to reach the little mission chapel. From his position on his back in the river he could see just the tip of the steeple, but for the most part he gazed upward at the constellations. Rudy knew his constellations, because each one of his daughters had done a science project on them and they'd spent hours lying on their backs in the middle of the Edgar Lee Masters campus looking up at the sky. As the river bent to the south, he could see Virgo and Centaurus coming into view. At first they reminded him of true beauty, and he was overwhelmed. He knew that this heart-piercing ache, however painful, was the central experience of his life and that he would have to come to terms with it. No one - not Aristotle, not Epicurus, not Siva Singh - would ever convince him otherwise. But then it occurred to him that Virgo and Centaurus were just as arbitrary as the rudimentary classification system he'd used for his books - Helen's books. There were a lot of stars left out of the constellations, and nothing to stop you from drawing the lines in different ways to create different pictures. He wanted to lift his wings and fly, but he didn't have the power. He could only let the river carry him along.”
Robert Hellenga, Philosophy Made Simple

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