This talk from Reimagining the Sacred & the Cool: A Literary Symposium features Lisa Ruddick received her PhD from Harvard University in 1982, began teaching at the University of Chicago in 1981, and is the author of Gertrude Stein: Body, Text, Gnosis. With research interests in modern British fiction, literature and psychoanalysis, and poetry and poetics, she is currently teaching on the question of aliveness in literature, exploring how good poems and novels seem to draw us close to something we’d call being. She also examines literature through psychoanalytic paradigms ranging from Freudian models to object relations and the intersection of psychoanalysis and Buddhism. Her writing has appeared at The Point Magazine, The Chorincle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry, and Modern Fiction Studies, and she is currently writing a book on academic life, its rigors, rigidities, and how professional training in the humanities, conducted with the best of intentions, can thwart the feeling of aliveness by partially dissociating practitioners from their intuitions and affective resources.