Martin Puchner, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, gives the third and final lecture in the Princeton University Press Lectures in European History and Culture.
Based on the history of world literature presented in the first two lectures, Martin Puchner will seek to draw conclusions about the role of the humanities today. What he have in mind is something that might be called applied humanities. Scientists and policy makers have struggled to turn knowledge about global challenges, from climate change to the future of the European Union, into meaningful action.
But in order to motivate action, we need more than facts; we need stories. How can the history of storytelling help us meet this need? And what types of stories should we develop to meet these challenges?
The guest speaker for this event is Martin Puchner, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. His writings, which include a dozen books and anthologies and over sixty articles and essays, range from philosophy and theater to world literature and have been translated into many languages. Through his best-selling Norton Anthology of World Literature and his HarvardX MOOC Masterpieces of World Literature, he has brought four thousand years of literature to audiences across the globe. His most recent book, The Written World, which tells the story of literature from the invention of writing to the Internet, has been widely reviewed in The New York Times, The Times (London), the Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Atlantic, The Economist, among others, covered on radio and television, and is forthcoming in over a dozen languages. In hundreds of lectures and workshops from the Arctic Circle to Brazil and from the Middle East to China, he has advocated for the arts and humanities in a changing world.