Cornell University

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Book Talk: Theory of the Lyric

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 4:30pm

Olin Library, 107
Olin Library, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Lyric poems have a strange way of addressing time, winds, trees, or the dead. What does this tell us about the ambitions of lyric poetry and how we should approach it?

Is a lyric poem an intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions―the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate the study of poetry―both of which neglect what is most compelling and falsify the rich tradition of the lyric in the West.

Join us for a Chats in the Stacks book talk with Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature. His new book, published by Harvard University Press in June 2015, examines ancient as well as modern poems and explores the Western lyric tradition.

His book Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature, won MLA’s Lowell Prize and established his reputation as analyst and expositor of critical theory. Culler is also the author of On Deconstruction and Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, translated into 20 languages.

Professor Culler has been President of the American Comparative Literature Association and chair of the departments of English, Comparative Literature, and Romance Studies at Cornell, as well as Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2006. He currently serves as Secretary of the American Council of Learned Societies.

This event is hosted by Olin Library. Buffalo Street Books will offer books for purchase and signing, and light refreshments served. 

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Event Type

Author Appearance, Lecture


Cornell University Library, English, Olin Library, Comparative Literature


cascal, Cornell University Library, CUL, poetry, book talk, olin library, Culler, lyric, linguistics, pawprint, history, literary criticism, literary studies


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Lynn Bertoia

Contact Phone



Jonathan Culler

Speaker Affiliation

English and Comparative Literature

Open To

Free and open to all

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