KU News Release

November 5, 2012
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, 785-864-7822

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Greenblatt to speak at KU

Stephen Greenblatt

LAWRENCE — Stephen Greenblatt, author of “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning intellectual history, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14, in the Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. His lecture, "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern," is an installment of the Hall Center for the Humanities' 2012-2013 Humanities Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public.

The Hall Center will also host a more informal public question-and-answer session focused on the life and works of William Shakespeare. "Will in the World: A Conversation with Stephen Greenblatt," will take place at 10 a.m. Nov. 15 in the Hall Center Conference Hall.

“The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” received both the 2011 National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. This absorbing history demonstrates how something as seemingly insignificant as a poem could influence the cultural world. Greenblatt argues that the copying and translation of Lucretius' “On the Nature of Things” fueled Renaissance artists, shaped the thoughts of thinkers from Galileo to Einstein, and influenced writers from Montaigne to Shakespeare to Thomas Jefferson.

Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of Humanities at Harvard University and general editor of the eminently respected Norton Shakespeare. He is the author of 12 books about Shakespeare, the Renaissance and early modern culture, including the hugely popular “Will in the World” (2004), a biography of Shakespeare.

He is also regarded as the father of New Historicism, a form of critical theory that seeks to unite literature, historical context and cultural theory. He has edited several collections of criticism, including Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto.

Greenblatt has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon foundation, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Distinguished Teaching Award from UC Berkeley. He also served as the president of the Modern Language Association of America.

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Salman Rushdie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Recent speakers have included Henry Louis Gates Jr., Mary Oliver and T.R. Reid. Shortly after the program’s inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member was added to the schedule. For information on other lectures in the 2012-2013 series, visit the Hall Center website.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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