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The humanities infuse our modern consciousness. How else could ancient myths remain so poignant?

Painter Marc Chagall must have somehow felt the message of Icarus pulsing through his creative mind and onto the canvas. Icarus, and Chagall’s reimagining of him, exemplifies the importance of the humanities—without them, we float uninformed into the universe and, like Icarus, into dangerous territory without the benefit of the right tools.

Jeremy Lefkowitz, associate professor of classics, explains it this way: “The fall of Icarus is a tragic tale, of course, but it’s also a story about human genius and creativity. Unfairly imprisoned, the father-and-son team used what they had at hand and invented flight, escaping captivity and achieving liberation, even if it meant dying in the process.”

In this issue, Swarthmore poets, farmers, doctors, teachers, and sages express how their paths have all been collectively shaped by the power of the humanities.

Come along on their journeys. Forget the wax and wings for now.