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Saturday, November 23, 2019 @ 1:30 pm
Room 8202 (Building 8, 2nd Floor)
300 NE Second Ave., Miami, Fl 33132 United States
Daniel Mendelsohn casts an eye at literature, film, television, and the personal essay in Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones. In All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf, author Katharine Smyth braids memoir, literary criticism, and biography. Jess Row’s White Flights, featuring seven wide-ranging, erudite, and impassioned essays, offers a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture.
- Saturday, November 23, 2019
- 1:30 pm
- Event Categories:
- Author Readings, Event Type
Daniel Mendelsohn teaches at Bard and is Editor-at-Large at The New York Review of Books. His previous books include An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic; The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million; How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken: Essays, and, from New York Review Books, Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture. In his latest book, Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones (New York Review Books), Mendelsohn once again casts an eye at literature, film, television, and the personal essay, filtering his insights through his training as a scholar of classical antiquity in illuminating and sometimes surprising ways. Many of these essays look with fresh eyes at our culture’s Greek and Roman models: some find an arresting modernity in canonical works (Bacchae, the Aeneid), while others detect a “Greek DNA” in our responses to national traumas such as the Boston Marathon bombings and the assassination of JFK. This collection also brings together for the first time a number of the award-winning memoirist’s personal essays, including his “critic’s manifesto” and a touching reminiscence of his boyhood correspondence with the historical novelist Mary Renault, who inspired him to study the Classics. His latest collection exemplifies the range, depth, and erudition that have made him “required reading for anyone interested in dissecting culture” (The Daily Beast).
Jess Row is the author of the novel Your Face in Mine and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. Row’s White Flights (Graywolf Press) offers a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture, from the end of the civil rights movement to the present. At the heart of the book, a collection of seven essays on cultural and literary criticism, Row ties “white flight” ― the movement of white Americans into segregated communities, whether in suburbs or newly gentrified downtowns―to white writers setting their stories in isolated or emotionally insulated landscapes. This might be the mountains of Idaho in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping or the claustrophobic households in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. His close readings of work from well-known writers such as Don DeLillo, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford, and David Foster Wallace examines the ways these and other writers have sought imaginative space for themselves at the expense of engaging with race. White Flights aims to move fiction to a more inclusive place, and consider writing as a reparative act. A starred review in Kirkus reviews noted that “Row is troubled by the way fiction “reflects and sustains” notions of whiteness as “normal, neutral, and central.” How do fiction writers, even unconsciously, perpetuate racism? […] this is a significant contribution to the cultural landscape. A disquieting, deeply thoughtful cultural critique.”
Katharine Smyth, a graduate of Brown University, has worked for The Paris Review and taught at Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction. Her debut as an author, All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf (Penguin Random House), braids memoir, literary criticism, and biography. It is both a love letter from a daughter to her father, and from a reader to her most cherished author. Smyth was a student at Oxford when she first read Woolf’s To the Lighthouse in the companionable silence she shared with her father, her favorite person. After his death, as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief, she returned to Woolf´s novel. Through her inventive, highly personal reading of To the Lighthouse, Smyth crafts an elegant reminder of literature’s ability to clarify and console. The Washington Post said "This is a transcendent book, not a simple meditation on one woman’s loss, but a reflection on all of our losses, on loss itself, on how to remember and commemorate our dead."
- Room 8202 (Building 8, 2nd Floor)
- 300 NE Second Ave., Miami, Fl 33132 United States + Google Map