Columbia News Video Forum

Reading, Ethics and the Literary Imagination Are the Focus of Lionel Trilling Seminar

This fall's Lionel Trilling Seminar, sponsored by Columbia College with support from the Great Books Foundation of Chicago, focuses on reading as a cultural activity, exploring the history of reading with implications on what was read in earlier periods and how it was read.

Brian Stock

Brian Stock, University of Toronto, discusses reading, ethics and the literary imagination in late antiquity and the early renaissance through the works of Augustine and Petrarch, arguing that their works represent a turning point in the history of relations between a reading culture, the practice of an ethical life and the literary imagination.

Real (1:02:18)Video
Robert Darton

Robert Darnton, Princeton University, elaborates on how the history of literature in the last 20 years has been a trajectory leading from great expectations to lost illusions, from Dickens to Balzac. Darnton contends that two decades ago reading was supposed to lead to a broad history of culture but, instead, it has lead to a history of literature that is "bogged down in disputes over paratexts and paradigms."

Real (16:41)Video
Thomas Flanagan

Thomas Flanagan, University of California at Berkeley, who taught English at Berkeley but is more widely known as the author of three novels about Ireland, speaks about his experiences in reading Augustine's "Confessions" over a 15 year period.

Real (17:56)Video

Published: Nov. 09, 2001
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002