Discourse & Process is a new online companion series to our 2020 Summer Lectures (which is postponed until further notice). Moderated by Julie Scelfo, past Lecture Series presenter and author of The Women Who Made New York, this series will give the authors an opportunity to discuss elements of the writing and research process.
This online program will be streamed live via Zoom.
How do we read William Faulkner in the twenty-first century? Asks Michael Gorra, one of America’s most preeminent literary critics. Born in 1897 in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote such iconic novels as Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury, his achievements culminating in the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. But given his works’ echo of “lost cause” romanticism, his depiction of black characters and black speech, and his rendering of race relations in a largely unreconstructed south, Faulkner demands a sobering reevaluation. Interweaving biography, absorbing literary criticism, and rich travelogue, the saddest words re-contextualizes Faulkner, revealing a civil war within him while examining the most plangent cultural issues facing American literature today.
Michael Gorra is a professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College. His most recent book, Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece (2012) was a finalist for several prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in Biography.As editor Gorra has put together volumes of stories by Joseph Conrad and Henry James for Penguin, along with the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a Public Scholar Award, and a National Book Critics Circle award for his work as a reviewer. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the TLS, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review, among others. In 2014 he was a judge for the National Book Award in fiction.
Julie Scelfo is a journalist, author and justice advocate who helps people discover the forces that help shape human thinking. Previously, Scelfo was a staff writer for The New York Times, and a Correspondent at Newsweek where she covered breaking news. Scelfo is the author of The Women Who Made New York, a collection of intersectional biographies that reveal how it was women — and not just men — who built one of the world’s greatest cities.
Scelfo earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a Master’s degree in Media Ecology from New York University. She lives in New York City, is a frequent public speaker and has made numerous appearances on television, radio and podcasts.
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Discourse & Process Chats Schedule
June 8 – Eve Kahn, author of Forever Seeing New Beauties: The Forgotten Impressionist Mary Rogers Williams
June 15 – Katherine Smyth, author of All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf
June 22 – Donna Rifkind, author of The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood
June 29 – Jenn Shapland, author of My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir
July 6 – Kerri Greenidge, author of Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter
July 13 – Kimberly Hamlin, author of Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener
July 20 – Michael Gorra author of The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War
July 27 – Nick Basbanes, author of Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Mount is a Massachusetts Cultural Council UP designated organization welcoming participants of all disabilities. Please contact The Mount at 413-551-5100 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss accommodations needed to participate fully in this event.