The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve
This event includes a book signing
September 18, 2017
7:00 PM ET
(Doors at 6:30)
First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author STEPHEN GREENBLATT for a discussion of his latest book, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve.
About The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve
Stephen Greenblatt―author of The Swerve and Will in the World―investigates the life of one of humankind’s greatest stories.
Bolder, even, than the ambitious books for which Stephen Greenblatt is already renowned, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve explores the enduring story of humanity’s first parents. Comprising only a few ancient verses, the story of Adam and Eve has served as a mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires, as both a hymn to human responsibility and a dark fable about human wretchedness.
Tracking the tale into the deep past, Greenblatt uncovers the tremendous theological, artistic, and cultural investment over centuries that made these fictional figures so profoundly resonant in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds and, finally, so very “real” to millions of people even in the present. With the uncanny brilliance he previously brought to his depictions of William Shakespeare and Poggio Bracciolini (the humanist monk who is the protagonist of The Swerve), Greenblatt explores the intensely personal engagement of Augustine, Dürer, and Milton in this mammoth project of collective creation, while he also limns the diversity of the story’s offspring: rich allegory, vicious misogyny, deep moral insight, and some of the greatest triumphs of art and literature.
The biblical origin story, Greenblatt argues, is a model for what the humanities still have to offer: not the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with problems that have gripped our species for as long as we can recall and that continue to fascinate and trouble us today.
"With all his usual clarity and freshness, one of our foremost literary historians and critics sets out a comprehensive picture of how a story foundational for European civilization developed, from its origins in western Asia to its much-contested place in the post-Darwinian world . . . This is a rich, learned, lively book, which should engage all who are interested in the history of our imagination and the interweavings of faith, poetics, and philosophy." —Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury
"A rare combination of wide-ranging erudition with verve of exposition. Even the most familiar materials are seen in a fresh, and humane, light. This is a book that makes one understand why old myths matter, even when they perceived unblinkingly as myths." —Robert Alter, author of Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible
"Bare then clothed, innocent then ashamed, blessed then cursed, sheltered then exiled. Stephen Greenblatt tracks Adam and Eve from an astute reading of the ancient origins of their story through a serendipitous tour of their afterlife in Jewish, Christian, and sometimes Muslim art, literature, and philosophy down to their post-Darwinian persistence in our own time. Endlessly illuminating and a sheer pleasure to read." —Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography and general editor of The Norton Anthology of World Religions
Tickets will also be available at Harvard Book Store and over the phone at 617-661-1515. Unless the event is sold out, any remaining tickets will be on sale at the door of the venue when doors open. Books bundled with e-tickets may only be picked up at the venue the night of the event, and cannot be picked up in-store beforehand.
Tickets are non-refundable and non-returnable.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand called Crimson Corner. Turn right and proceed north along Mass. Ave. going toward the Cambridge Common. You will pass the Harvard Coop, Bank of America, and CVS. The First Parish Church is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Church St. Please enter through the front door of the church.
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Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
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