The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Rembrandt

Vik RubenfeldArt Talk, Painting1 Comment

The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Rembrandt Here’s the story of the prodigal son from the Bible. It’s quite moving. 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 … Read More

This One Sneaks Up On You

Vik RubenfeldPoem1 Comment

This one sneaks up on you and then delivers a really powerful emotional insight in the last lines.  It’s by Robert Frost. It doesn’t matter what it’s called – the title’s just a fakeout so you won’t see the end of it coming. (It’s called “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”). At first it seems like it’s very tame, … Read More

Unforgettable Emotional Insight from Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

Vik RubenfeldNovelLeave a Comment

WAR AND PEACE has tons of amazing, unforgettable moments in it. There’s a thread listing many of them, on Goodreads. Here’s one of my favorites. BTW, this text is from the spectacular translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.  I can’t recommend their many translations from great Russian writers, highly enough. To the right Rostov saw the first rows of … Read More

Emotional Insight from Ernest Hemingway

Vik RubenfeldNovel2 Comments

Here’s a quote from Ernest Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA: He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked … Read More

Bet You Didn’t Know They Talked About Sex Like This in the 1800’s (Emotional Insight from Walt Whitman)

Vik RubenfeldPoem3 Comments

If you’ve ever thought about writing, you’ve probably wondered if you could describe what sex feels like. Well, Walt Whitman, the poet, had a shot at it in the freaking 1800’s. Don’t we all have the impression that nobody talked about sex until, like, 1960 or something like that? Not so. Walt Whitman had a surprisingly frank take on it … Read More

Emotional Insight from T.S. Eliot’s “Love Song”

Vik RubenfeldPoem1 Comment

As you may have noticed, what I’m trying to do here is provide very punchy, powerful, easy-to-get-with emotional insights.  Lots of great poems, plays and novels have beautiful stretches in them that lead up to, or include, something brief and powerful. I’m looking for these moments to feature in blog posts on this site. Similarly, with paintings, music and sculpture, … Read More