How to pronounce Jill Lepore: Jill luh-POOR
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Jill Lepore discusses her nonfiction work:
The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death
Q: You show how prevailing opinions about life and death can change the course of politics, and can in fact be dangerous. In your opinion, is there a particular lesson from the past that we need to take to heart as these debates and discussions of life continue?
A: There are only two lessons. 1. The past is not dispositive. 2. No day is a bad day to read E.B. Whites 1947 essay, Death of a Pig.
Q: You've taken on some of the biggest questions of the human condition in this book, and yet you've approached them through very familiar experiences: parenting fears, breastfeeding, board games, children's literature, adolescence, etc. How did you decide on this approach?
A: I didn't decide on that as an approach so much as it's just how my mind works. I spend a lot of time puzzling over the ordinary, wondering where things come from and why they are the way they are. Coffee cups, voting rights, traffic lights - anything, everything. Most things, the longer and harder you think about them, the bigger and harder the questions they raise. One day I was playing The Game of Life, spinning the Wheel of Fate and ...
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