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Steiner Lecture, 10/10

Originally Posted on admin, October 10, 2008

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Steiner Lecture, 10/10: “The Muses in Homer and Hobbes”


WHO:  Elaine Scarry, Harvard University, English and American Literature Department

WHAT:  The Steiner Lecture Series

TITLE:  “The Muses in Homer and Hobbes”

WHERE:  Great Hall, Peterson Student Center, St. John’s College

WHEN:  Friday, October 10, 8 p.m.

CONTACT: 984-6000 (St. John’s College switchboard)

DETAILS:  This lecture is free of charge, open to the public, and followed by a question and answer period.

Is poetic thinking at odds with or instead deeply compatible with the kind of deliberation required in political philosophy? Thomas Hobbes is primarily known for his great treatise on social contract, Leviathan. But he also translated Homer’s Iliad. The place of deliberation and dissent in the midst of war was a key matter for both Homer and Hobbes, and is the central subject of Scarry’s lecture.

Elaine Scarry teaches English at Harvard University where she is the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value. Her writings include The Body in Pain (Oxford University Press, 1985; National Book Critics Circle Finalist), On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton University Press, 1999; awarded the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism, 2000), and a series of articles on war and social contract. Scarry lectures widely to programs in literature, medicine, and law, and has given the Christian Gauss Seminars at Princeton, the Beckman Lectures at Berkeley, the Tanner Lectures at Yale, and the Clark Lectures at Trinity College, Cambridge.

The Steiner Lecture Series honors the memory of Andrew Steiner, alumnus of the college and husband of Lenni Steiner, a current member of the St. John’s Board of Visitors and Governors. Friends and family of Mr. Steiner perpetuate his memory via the Andrew Steiner Visiting Scholar Fund, which brings to campus people of distinction with fresh perspectives on the work done at the college. These scholars, in addition to their scheduled lecture, meet with students and faculty in a more informal seminar context to further develop ideas introduced in the lecture.