About 2400 years ago Plato internalized the debating voices he heard around him in Athens and invented the philosophical dialogue. We grateful heirs to his dialectical way of thinking have turned those voices inside out. An increasingly plausible Socrates, Dr. Soderholm has been at the centre of this emerging web of intellectual activity as he attempts to play the ancient roles of midwife, gadfly, and torpedo fish.

Dialogic Imaginations is a work-in-progress guided by the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

To Autumn
Henry Baxter & James Soderholm
Let us speak of death, poetry, and transfiguration. Today in Hyde Park I showed you an oak leaf in its death throes, flaming into beauty one last time. I gave you a botanical explanation about why leaves turn color in Autumn—sometimes I still prefer the American “Fall,” partly for its biblical and Miltonic associations...
Woolf, Wolves, and Us
Melkon Charchoglyan & James Soderholm
I love the dinner scene in To the Lighthouse. How everyone gropes to understand one another but never quite does; the resulting tension; the huge distance between the characters' perspicacious thoughts, feelings, and the disappointing or reticent way those thoughts and feelings play out in the real world...
Le mot juste
Grace Clover & James Soderholm
One aspect of Flaubert's description of Madame Bovary's husband, Charles, has stayed with me. Charles’s conversation was commonplace as a street pavement, and everyone’s ideas trooped through it in their everyday garb, without exciting emotion, laughter, or thought...
Uncivil Wars
Lyall Rosgill & James Soderholm
A spate of iconoclastic protests and demands for social reform this year has eventually culminated in a letter—a remarkably controversial letter, signed by over 150 academics, writers and activists...
Dream On
Bruno Lindan & James Soderholm
For several thousand moons I have been thinking about that epigram from Beyond Good and Evil. I wonder what abysses Nietzsche looked into. And did he become monstrous in the act...
Making Waves
Cal Hewitt & James Soderholm
I would like to argue that the fluke of the blue whale pictured above is—from the standpoint of evolutionary biology, if not cosmic harmony—both a necessity and, well, a fluke...
Time to be Human
Amelia Liddell & James Soderholm
Sometimes thinking in geological or even better cosmic time sorts me out. If the Earth were a 24-hour clock, Homo sapiens have been around for about two seconds...
The Art of Danse Macabre
Cal Hewitt & James Soderholm
As the entire world seems swept away by one dreadful thing, the little black death of our time, I would like to engage you on the subject of Art...
'Tis new to thee
Leandra Bernstein & James Soderholm
As I become more and more like Prospero—craggy, crabby, losing my magic—I sometimes reflect on the meaning of The Tempest and the several sea-changes it has undergone in my evolving, dying brain...
Who's Afraid of Jacob Rees‐Mogg?
Charles Noble & James Soderholm
With twelve days until Jacob Rees-Mogg visits our school to give a talk, my nerves are not good...
The Worship Business
Zoë Abrams & James Soderholm
Freud argues that religious feelings and sentiments--and especially the need for an all- protective father--are the reasons why people seem to believe in supernatural beings and engage in religious practices...
The Victim
Alice Abrams & James Soderholm
We live in an age of victimhood. Political turmoil, an aging population and skyrocketing rates of mental illness seem to subject almost everyone to some kind of unjust misfortune...
The Importance of Being Wicked
Ophelia Gregory & James Soderholm
It is not clear if Dorian Gray is a hero or a villain. Neither is it clear if Wilde would have disdained that moralistic question...
On Time
Joshua Gawley & James Soderholm
In some fragment, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus says that time is a child playing a game-- time is the child's kingdom. I've always wondered what he meant...
On the Genealogy of Post-Truth
Josie Orr & James Soderholm
It was the autumn of 2016 when ‘Post-Truth’ was named the word of the year by Oxford English Dictionary, provoking the public to become aware of the term and apply it to real-life situations...
The Perilous Magic of Vladimir Nabokov
Grace Clover & James Soderholm
I am often struck by how certain works of fiction create happily-manipulated readers. We live in a time when all forms of manipulation seem to be regarded as nefarious...
Is a Global Ethical System Possible?
Ali-Reza Omidvar & James Soderholm
Is it possible for any country or culture to claim moral high ground or are we now forever swamped by cultural relativism and the idea that there is no master narrative or moral position that is not compromised in some way...
Why and How?
Rose Pettengell & James Soderholm
That last swipe at ‘the Englishman’ seems intended for Jeremy Bentham and his ‘hedonistic calculus,’ which Nietzsche clearly thought was an absurd way to think about both ethics and pleasure...
Monarchy?
Rose Pettengell & James Soderholm
The monarchy is an institution that has been a part of England for hundreds of years; it is ingrained in our culture and only for a brief period of eleven years was England a Republic...
The Village Almost Without Greed
Lily Begg & James Soderholm
I understand that you have read my dialogue with Drishti Rai (“The Village Without Greed”) and I am wondering how your present circumstances contribute to a discussion of what I shall politely called the depredations of capitalism...
Quantum Hamlet
Thomas Newton & James Soderholm
It occurs to me that Hamlet’s real question is not so much ‘To be or not to be’ as ‘To be and not to be’.
If the Sun Breed Maggots in a Living Dialogue
Kyle Blaus-Plissner & James Soderholm
I have always wondered why Shakespeare’s longest and most difficult play has also been his most popular. Apparently, Hamlet is ‘on the boards’ every single night...
The Ouroboros of Hamlet
M.E. Rolle & James Soderholm
I have always wondered why Shakespeare’s longest and most difficult play has also been his most popular. Apparently, Hamlet is ‘on the boards’ every single night...
Free Speech But At What Cost?
Daniel Appiah & James Soderholm
I just heard a lecture by Professor Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, who was roundly criticized by many of her colleagues for publishing an opinion/editorial piece...
Bosola's Voyage
Rose Pettengell & James Soderholm
Why is The Tragedy of the Duchess of Malfi not entitled The Tragedy of Bosola or simply Bosola? He is one of the most insightful characters on stage...
The Gravity of Scientific Language
Cal Hewitt & James Soderholm
Historically, a lot of science was done in dead languages, especially Latin, and it often worked very well...
Is Religion Necessary?
Adam Nell-Millard & James Soderholm
Religious faith surely arose from some innate desire for meaning, formed in an attempt to explain the presence of human life and consciousness...
Does ‘Aesthetics’ Make Any Sense?
Melissa Orr & James Soderholm
In 1914, Clive Bell published a book entitled Art in which he describes his theory of ‘Significant Form’...
Dialogue on Death
Adam Nell-Millard & James Soderholm
Fear of dying is perhaps the most defining feature of the human psyche; humanity is seemingly in equal parts fascinated and terrified by the notion of death...
The Village Without Greed
Drishti Rai & James Soderholm
We have been discussing the problem of greed and the way a certain unregenerate rapacity has been underneath most of human history...
Trialogue on Nietzsche
Moses May Hobbs, Bruno Lindan, & James Soderholm
We have been discussing the Eternal Return and amor fati and how Nietzsche uses these ideas...
James Soderholm took his Ph.D. in British Literature from the University of Virginia. Dr. Soderholm has published four books, including Platonic Occasions: Dialogues on Art, Literature and Culture (with Richard Begam, Stockholm University Press, 2015). He has recently published his first children’s book, Prince Hamlet.
Cal Hewitt is now reading Physics at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He also maintains this website.
Drishti Rai is an 18 year old with a passion for economics and academia. She plans to study the former at university, having completed A levels in maths, further maths, physics, and economics. She also runs a blog: thedismalstudy.wordpress.com
Moses May Hobbs is a Langton student intending to study the history of art and has a consuming love of philosophy and the arts. Enamoured with absurdist literature and surrealism, Mo’s Socratic contributions hail from his preoccupations with aesthetics, truth, and philosophical freedom.
Bruno Lindan is, as of 2019, studying Mathematics at King's College, Cambridge.
Melissa Orr studied A-levels in Philosophy, Fine Art, and Mathematics at the Langton. After completing a gap year of work experience and travelling she hopes to read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at university.
Adam Nell-Millard is 18, and currently studying History, Philosophy, and Mathematics. He hopes to continue studying Philosophy in the future. He is particularly interested in topics relating to human nature and concerned with the human relationship to death and religious belief.
Rose Pettengell is studying Paramedic Science but has a deep interest in English literature and history. She believes that Webster's Bosola is far more darkly interesting than Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Lily Begg is a student of French and Italian who spends a lot of her time wondering whether the world is a good place or a bad place. She spends the rest of her free time doing things like growing plants and smashing the patriarchy.
Daniel Appiah is an old Langtonian currently reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter. Dan's contemplation of speech acts and the philosophy of language yields no consolation, but the free and frank exchange of ideas is consolation enough. He continues to strive to achieve a Stoic ideal, and knows he will not.
Thomas Newton is a passionate physicist -- following in the footsteps of fellow dialogue author, Cal Hewitt, with regards to command of the LUCID project -- who has a persistent interest in the theatrical arts. A desire to bridge the culture gap between the arts and sciences inspired his approach to his dialogue and is something he hope to preserve when pursuing physics studies at university.
Kyle Blaus-Plissner enjoys wordplay in all forms, spoken or written. A student of The Great Silence, he resides in Colorado, United States, where he often veers off of the established trails of mountains and conversations.
M.E. Rolle is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. When she isn't staring hopelessly at a computer screen, she takes the train into London and wanders the city, taking photos.
Ali-Reza Omidvar is a Langton student who is obsessed with poetry, mysticism and Philosophy. After his migration to the UK and his later conversion to Christianity, he wrote a book comprising an analysis on the religio-political differences between eastern and western countries and some mystical poems. His plan is to first study Philosophy and then continue his further study in law.
Josie Orr is 17 and currently studies A-Level Politics, Maths, and Fine Art at the Langton. After finding an interest in post-truth she completed an EPQ on the topic, and followed up by writing this dialogue.
Grace Clover is an ex-langtonian who studied English, History and German A-Level and has gone on to study joint honours History and German Literature at Wadham College Oxford as of Autumn 2020.
Ophelia Gregory is a writer of dialogues that are so outrageous they cannot be published. A controversial figure since pre-school she now studies the Classics, German and English. In her spare time, she also has a love for playing the Double Bass (badly) and generally being regarded as the devil incarnate.
Joshua Gawley is a Langton student currently studying A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Computer Science. He has a passion for computer science and philosophy, hoping to read the former at university; and he is particularly obsessed with the possibilities of artificial intelligence and the search for a computational theory of everything.
Zoë Abrams is 16 years old, and currently studying History, Politics, English and Spanish at the Langton. Alongside a keen interest in leftist political theory and sociology, Zoë enjoys acting, singing, playing classical guitar, and has been diarying for three years. She has two cats and has been known to cackle like a witch from time to time.
Alice Abrams is a student at the Langton, studying Philosophy, History, English and Spanish. She enjoys debating and all forms of writing, but particularly poems and letters. When not enjoying these pursuits, she is often found conversing with her cat, Mini, who she firmly believes to be a human trapped in feline form.
Charles Noble is 18 years old and hopes to read History at University once he has completed his studies at the Langton. In between studying Maths, German and History, Charles enjoys provoking debates in lessons and challenging the views of his peers. When he’s not studying he can be found on the golf-course or playing music.
Leandra Bernstein is a journalist in Washington, D.C. covering the daily revolutions of the widening gyre. A student of chance, she has no plans to graduate. She is scrappy, optimistic, and the owner of an impressive closet of skeletons.
Amelia Liddell is no one thing, but if pushed, she'd say "veterinarian". She fancies herself a bit of everything, as she has an insatiable fear of missing out. She is soon to move to a tiny island in the middle of the Arabian Sea in search of ancient reptiles.
Lyall Rosgill is an avid nonconformist. In his free time he enjoys wartime poetry and listening to the odd bit of John Coltrane.
Melkon Charchoglyan is a journalist, writer and photographer from Armenia. After graduating with a degree in Classics from the University of St Andrews, he went on to become a travel writer and editor. Now he's the 2021 Helen Deutsch Fellow at Boston University's School of Creative Writing, where he writes and teaches fiction, as well as dabbling in Russian literary translation.
Henry Baxter lives in Cambridge, where he is now reading for an MPhil in Early Modern Literature.