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The Craving for Difficulty

The lecture begins with the title “The Fascination of What’s Difficult” by William Butler Yeats. Fascination—or any type of prolonged interest—requires something worthy of that attention. With the poem’s last word, “bolt,” Yeats captures both the means of constraining the horse and the moment of escape. The contrast with difficulty makes freedom palpable.

See also Robert Pinsky’s commencement address at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0w7FVLwn-w.