My local library is publicizing the upcoming Massey Lectures with Alberto Manguel by giving away promotional bookmarks. I picked up a few extra to give away to any Manguel fans out there. Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to pop one in the mail for you.
UPDATE: To whet your appetites further, here are the descriptions of this year’s lectures:
Nov 5: The Voice of Cassandra
“In ancient Anglo-Saxon,” says Alberto Manguel in his opening lecture, “the word for poet was maker, a term that blends the meaning of weaving words with that of building the material world.” The invention of language, he suggests, was a way of drawing us together, of finding common cause in the world; the making of stories lends words to our sense of reality.
Nov 6: The Tablets of Gilgamesh
“The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story of both a man and of a city, of how a man, King Gilgamesh, came to know who he was, and of how a city, Uruk, becam not only magnificent but just.” It’s also the story of the Other, of how we only find ourselves when we finda place for the stanger, the outsider.
Nov 7: The Bricks of Babel
“Can we undo the curse of Babel?,” asks Alberto Manguel. Dictatorship, war, famine, colonial oppression, racial persecution and ethnic cleansing shatter the imaginative construction of our identities, work to prevent us from building Babel while at the same time demanding that future Babels be built. But perhaps the gift of many tongues helps us to illuminate who we are.
Nov 8: The Books of Don Quixote
History, the story of a society, is slippery. And stories, as Don Quixote knew, grant society its identity, but they cannot be just any story: they must respond to a shared reality. They can’t be fictional inventions, in the sense of forgeries or misrepresentations; they must, in a deeply-rooted literary sense, ring true.
Nov 9: The Screens of Hal
Stories tell us that a better, happier world lies always just beyond our reach, in the fabulous Golden Age longed for by Don Quixote, or in the future, on a distant planet or a contented Earth. Stories can offer consolation for suffering and suggest ways of imagining a future that may offer us ways of remainign alive, togther, on this much abused Earth.