LECTURE: PATRICIA H. LABALME FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY
Lucretius and the Toleration of Intolerable Ideas
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 - 6:00pm
Metropolitan Club,Third Floor Ballroom
(Gentlemen, remember jackets and ties)
1 East 60 Street
New York, NY 10022
Join us for the annual Patricia H. Labalme Friends of the Library lecture in New York featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Greenblatt, RAAR’10. Professor Greenblatt will discuss how freedom of expression is a recent idea, by no means universal even now and hedged about, in those societies that value it, with restrictions. Through most of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and extending well into the seventeenth-century, there were strict limits on what could legitimately be said or written. To call into question divine providence or to deny the existence of the afterlife were among the positions regarded as particularly intolerable. This lecture centers on why and how the utterly unacceptable ideas reintroduced by the recovery of De rerum natura in 1417 managed to survive and be transmitted during pre-Enlightenment centuries that had no concept of toleration.
Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of twelve books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern;Shakespeare's Freedom; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; Marvelous Possessions; and Renaissance Self-Fashioning. He is General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and of The Norton Shakespeare, has edited seven collections of criticism, and is a founding editor of the journal Representations. His honors include the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the 2011 National Book Award for The Swerve, MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize (twice), Harvard University’s Cabot Fellowship, the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation, Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. Among his named lecture series are the Adorno Lectures in Frankfurt, the University Lectures at Princeton, and the Clarendon Lectures at Oxford, and he has held visiting professorships at universities in Beijing, Kyoto, London, Paris, Florence, Torino, Trieste, and Bologna, as well as the Renaissance residency at the American Academy in Rome. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and is a permanent fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Philosophical Society.
Reception to follow.