Join us for online presentations featuring acclaimed literary critics, historians, and other scholars.
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Thursday, October 29
6:00–7:00 pm ET
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Known to millions for her classic story “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson took the American gothic tradition of Poe, Hawthorne, and Lovecraft and brought it down to earth. Her novels and stories brilliantly plumbed the dark underside of the conformist postwar decades, as well as her own personal struggles in marriage and motherhood, to craft a subtle genre of domestic horror that Dorothy Parker hailed for its “beautifully written, quiet, cumulative shudders.”
Join Jackson biographer Ruth Franklin, editor of Library of America’s Shirley Jackson: Four Novels of the 1940s and 50s, novelist and literary critic Francine Prose, and playwright John Guare for a pre-Halloween conversation about one of our most haunting writers.
Presented in partnership with the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers
(All dates and times TBD; watch this page for updates.)
• American Birds: A Literary Celebration
October 13, 2020
The Paranoid Style in American Politics: Revisiting Richard Hofstadter in the Time of Trump
In his Pulitzer Prize–winning Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963) and in The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1965), Richard Hofstadter explored the persistent strains of irrationality and conspiratorial thinking in American culture and their threat to our democratic politics. How can Hofstadter help us make sense of 2020, a year when fringe conspiracy theories moved into the political and media mainstream? Acclaimed scholars Sean Wilentz, editor of LOA’s authoritative Richard Hofstadter edition, Eric Foner, Arlie Hochschild, and Ira Katznelson discuss Hofstadter’s work as a touchstone for navigating a polarized and unstable political climate.
Presented in partnership with the Center for American Studies at Columbia University and the American Historical Association
September 23, 2020
Reading James Baldwin Now: Eddie Glaude Jr., on “The White Man’s Guilt”
In 1965, at a critical juncture in the Civil Rights Movement, James Baldwin’s essay “The White Man’s Guilt" unmasked the myths and lies that sustain racial injustice in America. We’re at a parallel moment now, writes Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. in his new book Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons For Our Own. In this LOA Live webinar Glaude, Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton, explores the contemporary resonances of Baldwin’s powerful and prophetic piece.
Presented in partnership with The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics & Writers, and The New Republic
September 10, 2020
Thirteen Days: Abraham Lincoln and the Crisis of Presidential Succession
With historian Ted Widmer
On February 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln boarded a train in Springfield, Illinois bound for Washington and his inauguration as leader of a tragically divided nation. Join historian Ted Widmer, author of Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington and editor of Library of America’s two-volume edition of American Speeches, as he explores the President-Elect’s dangerous and transformative journey to greatness while the fate of American democracy hung in the balance.
Presented in partnership with the American Historical Association, ALSCW, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the National Archives, and the National Council on History Education.
August 26, 2020
It’s a New World, Golde: Classic American Musicals in the 21st Century
New productions are reassessing and updating great Golden Age Broadway musicals like Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and My Fair Lady to reflect contemporary aspirations for American society. Are these new interpretations departing from or reviving their original spirit and meaning? Join Laurence Maslon, NYU arts professor and editor of Library of America’s American Musicals; Tazewell Thompson, librettist (Blue) and director (Porgy and Bess); and Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, for behind-the-scenes stories and conversation about the present and future of a great American art form.
Presented in partnership with the Hampton Library, Great Performances’ Broadway’s Best, NYU Skirball Center, the Kurt Weill Foundation, the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, The WNET Group’s ALL ARTS Channel, and BroadwayWorld.
August 6, 2020
The Fate of the Earth: Jonathan Schell and His Legacy
To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day, renowned psychiatrist and author Robert Jay Lifton and Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation, discuss the writer and friend who put his remarkable literary gifts in the service of disarmament, nonviolence, international cooperation, and the irresistible power of democracy. Moderated by Martin J. Sherwin, editor of the new LOA collection Jonathan Schell: The Fate of the Earth, The Abolition, The Unconquerable World.
Presented in partnership with The Nation, Type Media Center, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The New Press, Arms Control Association, and Global Zero.
July 28, 2020
Who Tells Your Story: Joanne B. Freeman on Hamilton and History
As Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton streams on Disney+, Joanne B. Freeman, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University and editor of the Library of America edition of Hamilton’s writing (which helped to inspire Miranda), discusses the musical and what it tells us about how history is made and remade. (1 hr., 3 min.)
Presented in partnership with the National Council for History Education, the New-York Historical Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the American Historical Association, and the Museum of the American Revolution.
July 16, 2020
Reading James Baldwin Now: Darryl Pinckney on No Name in the Street
Novelist and cultural critic Darryl Pinckney offers a close reading of Baldwin’s beautiful, blistering memoir of the events that forged his consciousness of race and identity: growing up in Harlem, the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, his long residence in France, his fateful decision to return to the American South. (58: 17)
Presented in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics & Writers (ALSCW), the American Writers Museum, and the University of Houston.
June 25, 2020
Reading James Baldwin Now: Farah Jasmine Griffin on “Sonny’s Blues”
The prophetic power of James Baldwin’s explorations of race and America’s unfulfilled promise has never been more illuminating or more necessary. Farah Jasmine Griffin, chair of Columbia University’s Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, offers a close reading of Baldwin’s unforgettable story of a jazz pianist’s struggles with his art and his addiction. (1 hr., 1 min.)
Presented in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, the University of Houston, the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics & Writers (ALSCW), and the American Writers Museum.
June 16, 2020
Harold Bloom and the American Canon from Emerson to Toni Morrison
A Conversation with David Mikics
Literary scholar David Mikics, editor of the Library of America volume Harold Bloom: The American Canon: Literary Genius from Emerson to Pynchon, joins LOA’s John Kulka for an intimate conversation about how he wove several decades of Harold Bloom’s writing—much of it hard to find and long unavailable—into a compelling portrait of American literary genius. LOA President and Publisher Max Rudin introduces the Zoom conversation. (1 hr., 2 min.)
Presented in partnership with Tablet, The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW), and the University of Houston.
June 4, 2020
What Is American Conservatism?
A Conversation with Andrew J. Bacevich and Sean Wilentz
Andrew J. Bacevich, editor of Library of America’s American Conservatism: Reclaiming an Intellectual Tradition, and historian Sean Wilentz engage in an urgent and timely conversation about the past, present, and future of an often misunderstood tradition of American political thought. (1 hr., 1 min.)