A small, beautiful thing

Making a difference; changing the world
Years ago, when I had just begun teaching and wondered what kind of contribution I might make to the great world of scholarship, I spoke with a teacher and scholar whose work I very much admired. She had translated neglected works by medieval woman writers, written important articles on medieval women’s religious lives, and made influential contributions to the theory and practice of teaching history. What she had not done was write “the big book,” the monograph that laid out her theory of everything. I asked her if she planned to write such a book. “Oh,” she replied, “I prefer to do the small, beautiful thing.”


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