• Presentation of Decadent Orientalisms: The Decay of Colonial Modernity

      Fieni, David (2021-10)
      Dr. Fieni will present selections from his book, Decadent Orientalisms: The Decay of Colonial Modernity, which explores how literature in French and Arabic has imagined the relative health and morbidity of France and the Arab World since the mid-19th century. Attentive to historical and literary configurations of language, race, religion, and power, Decadent Orientalisms shows the importance of understanding Western discourses of Eastern decline together with Arab and Islamic responses in which decadence returns as a characteristic of the West. The lecture will range from a discussion of a scandalously carnivalesque Arabic text from 1855 by the Lebanese author Faris Ahmed al-Shidyaq to contemporary writing in French by Arab immigrants in Paris exorcising the specters of their own supposedly “degenerate” status.
    • Presentation of The Art of Literary Biography: Orion on the Dunes

      Payne, Daniel G. (2022-03)
      Dr. Daniel G. Payne, Distinguished Teaching Professor (Department of English) lectures on the Art of Literary Biography, drawing from Orion on the Dunes (2016), his acclaimed biography of the 20th Century American nature writer Henry Beston (1888-1968). In addition to providing an overview of Beston’s life and work, Dr. Payne discusses the methods and challenges of writing a literary biography, including stories about his own experiences as a "literary detective."