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Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 4:30pm

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

How does poetic reference in largely abstract works affect their interpretation?

Join us for a Chats in the Stacks book talk with Mary Jacobus, professor emerita of English at the University of Cambridge, Anderson Professor of English and Women's Studies at Cornell from 1980-2000, and Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford. In 2011-12, she returned to Cornell as M. H. Abrams Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Her new book Reading Cy Twombly (Princeton University Press; August 30, 2016), is an illuminating study that focuses on the artist’s use of poetry in his paintings and drawings, many of which include handwritten words and phrases—naming or quoting poets ranging from Sappho, Homer, and Virgil to Mallarmé, Rilke, and Cavafy. The careful examination of Twombly’s scrawled quotations and verbal scribbles allows us to have a captivating conversation with the artist’s imagination. In the artist’s own words, he “never really separated painting and literature.”

Mary Jacobus has written widely on visual art, Romanticism, feminism, and psychoanalysis. Her recent books include The Poetics of Psychoanalysis: In the Wake of Klein and Romantic Things: A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud.

Refreshments served and books available for purchase.

This event is hosted by Olin Library.

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Event Type

Author Appearance, Lecture


Cornell University Library, Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, English, Olin Library


cascal, pawprint, Cornell University Library, CUL, book talk, engdep


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Lynn Bertoia

Contact Phone

(607) 255-4144


Mary Jacobus

Open To

Free and open to all

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