"Two lectures by Prof. Christopher Prendergast: Wed. Sept. 29, 4-6 PM, IHC McCune room, and Thurs., Sept. 30, 3-5 PM, Phelps 5316"

Event Date: 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Event Location: 

  • PHELPS 5316
  • French

Professor Christopher Prendergast will speak twice at UCSB, under the auspices of the Series in Contemporary Literature. His first lecture which will take place on Wednesday, Sept 29, 4-6 p.m., in the
IHC McCune room, is entitled "History, Modernity, and Counterfactuals: Walter Benjamin's Theses on the Philosophy of History'". In this lecture Prof. Prendergast will examine counterfactual thinking--the sphere of the might-have-been--as defined in a famous essay by the German cultural critic Walter Benjamin. The latter may be read as a counter to recent attempts to re-think literary history on the model of evolutionary biology.

Prof. Prendergast's second lecture will take place on Thursday, Sept 30, in Phelps Hall 5316 at 3 pm, and will be entitled "Open Sesame: Proust and Magic." This talk draws on the episode at the end of 'Sodom and Gomorrah' in which the Narrator learns of the lesbian past of Albertine and decides to bring her back to Paris with him as his "captive". Copies of the text will be available on ERES.

The following is a short biography of
Christopher Prendergast.
He is Professor Emeritus in Modern French Literature, University of Cambridge; Fellow of King's College Cambridge; Fellow of the British Academy; Honorary Professor, University of Copenhagen. He is the author of 'Paris and the nineteenth century' (1995), 'Debating world literature' (2004), 'Napoleon and history painting: Antoine-Jean Gros's La Bataille d'Eylau' (1997), 'Spectacles of realism: body, gender, genre' (1995, with Margaret Cohen), 'The Triangle of representation?' (2000), 'The Order of mimesis: Balzac, Stendhal, Nerval, Flaubert' (1988), 'The classic: Sainte-Beuve and the nineteenth-century culture wars' (2007), among others. He is also the general editor of the recent translation of Marcel Proust's 'In Search of Lost Time' (Penguin Classics).