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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
What Are We Doing Here?

What Are We Doing Here?


Marilynne Robinson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


New essays on theological, political, and contemporary themes, by the Pulitzer Prize winner

Marilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson’s peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as “deeply impressed by obligation [and as] a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still.”

What Is Freedom of Conscience?

Director’s Lecture at Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago: May 5, 2016

I assume that conscience is a human trait widespread enough to be generally...

Praise for What Are We Doing Here?

“[A] collection of learned, probing essays...Robinson’s gorgeous, demanding, and enlightening essays, propelled by her intricate vision of unity, radiantly recharge both mind and soul.” —Booklist

"A dense, eccentric book of profound and generous gifts." —Parul Seghal, The New York Times Book Review

“[Robinson’s] eloquent work stands up for a compassionate faith, the value of education, and a sense of decency.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] trenchant [collection of] essays about faith, values, and history...Sharp, elegant cultural analysis.” —Kirkus Reviews


Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Lila, Home, Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and Housekeeping, and the nonfiction books The Givenness of Things, When I Was a Child I Read Books, Mother Country, The Death of Adam, and Absence of Mind. She lives in Iowa.

image of Marilynne Robinsono
Alec Soth / Magnum Photos

Read Articles by the Author at The New York Review of Book

Read Author Biography at Britannica

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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