Spring 2012,News & Events

Thursday 12/22/2011


Joan Richardson: Into the Cosmic Weather

Please join us Thursday April 12, 2012 at 7 pm for Joan Richards’s talk in the SVA theater (located at 333 West 23rd street between 8th and 9th avenues).
This event is free and open to the public.

Darwin and the Darwinian information changed everything, as Emerson and those following him into newly imagined territories of becoming realized. “Imagination as Value” is the title of a lecture Wallace Stevens delivered at Columbia University in 1948, just as recovery from the devastation of the Second World War was beginning. He called mind, “the most terrible force in the world,” “a violence from within that protects us from a violence without,” and the value of imagination “the way of thinking by which we project the idea of God into the idea of man.” “It creates images that are independent of their originals,” he added, gnomically. Considering these aspects by following Stevens back to James and back to Emerson, as we try to keep our balance amidst the hissing and spinning of our own “environment of fact meeting fact,” will constitute the subject of this talk.

Joan Richardson is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies at The Graduate Center. Author of a two-volume biography of the poet Wallace Stevens, she co-edited, with Frank Kermode, Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose (Library of America, 1997). Her essays on Stevens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Jonathan Edwards have been published in the Wallace Stevens Journal, in Raritan, and elsewhere, and essays on Alfred North Whitehead, William James, and pragmatism have appeared in the journals Configurations and The Hopkins Review. Review essays have appeared in Bookforum and other journals. Her study A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007, and was nominated for the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. She is currently at work on another volume for Cambridge, Pragmatism and American Culture as well as a book-length study, The Return of the Repressed: Stanley Cavell and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Joan Richardson has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships including a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her work reflects an abiding interest in the way that philosophy, natural history, and science intersect with literature.

Update: Watch the full lecture on our vimeo page, here