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Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 5:30pm
Wednesday Aug 29, 5:30 p.m., Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall
William and Jane Torrence Harder Lecture, "Literary Ecology in the 1940s," George Hutchinson, Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture, Professor of English, Cornell University
We normally think of “Nature” and “Literature” as deriving from two different origins--one being nonhuman, the other human. Literature is part of human “culture,” which under traditional western conceptions was “above” nature, as human beings were by virtue of reason. We have to get used to thinking of culture as something human animals create as inevitably as a groundhog creates a complicated burrow, with several entrances, and often different chambers for defecation, food storage, and so on. If human beings can no longer be thought outside of Nature, then neither can our linguistic artistry: aesthetic manipulations of language are fundamental to human ways of making a home in the world, and they have ecological effects. The lecture will sketch out some implications, and examples from the 1940s, of this way of thinking about literary artistry. Garden Party to follow in the Nevin Welcome Center gardens