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Author Meets Critics - Joshua Landy



Joshua Landy


Friday, May 10, 2013 - 3:00pm - 6:00pm


Terrace Room, Margaret Jacks Hall (Bldg 460)



Author Meets Critics - Joshua Landy

Join us for a discussion of Joshua Landy's book, "How to do Things with Fictions," this Friday, May 10. Professir Joshua Landy will be responding to a diverse and exciting panel of critics, including Blakey Vermeule (English, Stanford), Jonathan Kramnick (English, Johns Hopkins), and G.R.F. Ferrari (Classics, UC-Berkeley). We hope to see many of you there. This book is available through the Oxford University Press here.

More information on "How to do Things with Fictions" (Oxford, 2012)

Why does Mark's Jesus speak in parables? Why does Plato's Socrates make bad arguments? Why are Beckett's novels so inscrutable? And why don't stage magicians even pretend to summon spirits anymore? In a series of captivating chapters on Mark, Plato, Beckett, Mallarmé, and Chaucer, Joshua Landy not only answers these questions but explains why they are worth asking in the first place.

Witty and approachable, How to Do Things with Fictions challenges the widespread assumption that literary texts must be informative or morally improving in order to be of any real benefit. It reveals that authors are sometimes best thought of not as entertainers or as educators but as personal trainers of the brain, putting their willing readers through exercises designed to fortify specific mental capacities, from form-giving to equanimity, from reason to faith.

Delivering plenty of surprises along the way--that moral readings of literature can be positively dangerous; that the parables were deliberately designed to be misunderstood; that Plato knowingly sets his main character up for a fall; that metaphor is powerfully connected to religious faith; that we can sustain our beliefs even when we suspect them to be illusions--How to Do Things with Fictions convincingly shows that our best allies in the struggle for more rigorous thinking, deeper faith, richer experience, and greater peace of mind may well be the imaginative writings sitting on our shelves.

  • Applies a range of literary texts--ranging from Chaucer and the Bible to Beckett and Toni Morrison--to everyday life
  • Conveys complex philosophical concepts in lucid, engaging prose
  • Brings philosophy into dialogue with seminal works of literature: the Bible, middle English poetry, French verse, and Irish drama

Be sure to mark your calendars for DLCL event, The Global in Literature, for an in depth look at Joshua Landy's (as well as other professors' latest publications) on May 14th!