Virtual Event: David Damrosch
Around the World in 80 Books
in conversation with LEE SIEGEL
November 8, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store, BookHampton, and RJ Julia Booksellers welcome DAVID DAMROSCH—the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature—for a discussion of his latest book, Around the World in 80 Books. He will be joined in conversation by award-winning writer LEE SIEGEL, author of The Draw: A Memoir and the forthcoming Why Argument Matters.
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About Around the World in 80 Books
Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’s department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, set out to counter a pandemic’s restrictions on travel by exploring eighty exceptional books from around the globe. Following a literary itinerary from London to Venice, Tehran and points beyond, and via authors from Woolf and Dante to Nobel Prize–winners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan, and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways in which the world bleeds into literature.
To chart the expansive landscape of world literature today, Damrosch explores how writers live in two very different worlds: the world of their personal experience and the world of books that have enabled great writers to give shape and meaning to their lives. In his literary cartography, Damrosch includes compelling contemporary works as well as perennial classics, hard-bitten crime fiction as well as haunting works of fantasy, and the formative tales that introduce us as children to the world we’re entering. Taken together, these eighty titles offer us fresh perspective on enduring problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat, as well as the patriarchal structures within and against which many of these books’ heroines have to struggle—from the work of Murasaki Shikibu a millennium ago to Margaret Atwood today.
Around the World in 80 Books is a global invitation to look beyond ourselves and our surroundings, and to see our world and its literature in new ways.
Praise for Around the World in 80 Books
"Restlessly curious, insightful, and quirky, David Damrosch is the perfect guide to a round-the-world adventure in reading. With such a companion, you never know where you will go next, but you can be confident that the encounter will be memorable. Count me in!” —Stephen Greenblatt, author of Tyrant
“It is always a pleasure to talk about books with David Damrosch, who has read all of them, and he is so eloquent about them all.” —Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning novelist
“An insightful journey into the books that have long captivated us. Profound, boundless, and diverse.” —Jokha Alharthi, author of the Man Booker International Prize-winning Celestial Bodies
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