The idea of world literature contains an argument in favor of large-scale comparative projects. But most humanities disciplines have shied away from these sorts of projects, deterred by a skepticism with respect to grand narratives and worries about Eurocentric universalism. In this context, other disciplines from physics to biology have taken over the job of telling overarching stories.
Martin Puchner will argue that much gets lost when we neglect the big picture. But how should we humanists proceed, taking into account decades of critique? Through what kinds of collaborations can we insert what we know into the narratives our societies tell? In making this argument, Professor Puchner will be drawing on his experience with the Norton Anthology of World Literature.
Attendance is free and open to all but places are limited and registration is required. Information on how to register will be released soon.
The guest speaker for this event is Martin Puchner, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. His writings, which include a dozen books and anthologies and over sixty articles and essays, range from philosophy and theater to world literature and have been translated into many languages. Through his best-selling Norton Anthology of World Literature and his HarvardX MOOC Masterpieces of World Literature, he has brought four thousand years of literature to audiences across the globe. His most recent book, The Written World, which tells the story of literature from the invention of writing to the Internet, has been widely reviewed in The New York Times, The Times (London), the Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Atlantic, The Economist, among others, covered on radio and television, and is forthcoming in over a dozen languages. In hundreds of lectures and workshops from the Arctic Circle to Brazil and from the Middle East to China, he has advocated for the arts and humanities in a changing world.
This is the second of three events in a series.
Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture:
1: World Literature: the curious history of an idea: 5th November 2019
2: Think Big! A modest argument about large scales: 8th November 2019
3: Stories for the future, and how to get there: 12th November 2019