The Library Café

Michael Corris
Michael Corris, the artist, critic, art historian, and Professor of Art at the Meadows School of Art at Southern Methodist University in Dallas talks about the Conceptualist art movement and about his book Leaving Skull City: Selected Writings on Art (Press du Réel, 2016). "Beginning with his work as a participant in the collective Art & Language, Corris's texts include critical surveys of conceptual art, the Artist Placement Group, the early work of Ad Reinhardt, “Young British Art” of the 1990s, and a mordant satire of management in art education. Leaving Skull City is filled with theoretical reflections on the social, philosophical, and political dimensions of contemporary art. Many of these concepts will seem familiar, as they drift in art's contemporary discourse. Yet, these ideas were hardly uncontroversial when first formulated in the context of conversations throughout the New York artworld of the 1970s."
Art History, Classification, Collectives, Computation, Conceptual Art, Curatorship, Intellectual Property, Interdisciplinarity, Invisible College, Philosophy, Science and Art, Serials Publishing
Michael H. McCarthy
Michael H. McCarthy, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Vassar College, discusses one of the Twentieth Century's most important political philosophers, Hannah Arendt, and his book: The Political Humanism of Hannah Arendt, published in 2012 by Lexington Books. “In this penetrating analysis, McCarthy reveals how anti-political biases within the Western philosophical tradition spawned 'anthropologies' that Arendt regarded as profoundly at odds with human dignity, plurality, and freedom. Rejecting both the reductionism that conflates people with beasts and the romanticism that conflates them with gods, Arendt emerges as a civic republican whose highest political virtue is devotion to a common world that, by uniting and separating us, allows us to actualize the full range of human possibilities." -- Sandra K. Hinchman.
Aristotle, Classical Studies, Democracy, Education, Humanism, l'Aventure Humaine, Memory, Monograph Publishing, Plato's Cave, Political Philosophy, Totalitariansim, VC
Michael Halpin McCarthy
Michael Halpin McCarthy, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Vassar College, returns to talk about his recent book Toward a catholic Christianity: A Study in Critical Belonging (Lexington 2017). "Michael Halpin McCarthy’s Toward a catholic Christianity offers a compelling account of how one might deftly combine intellectual seriousness and ethical sensitivity with creative fidelity to the Catholic Church. McCarthy’s vision of Christian discipleship continues to extend the path blazed by his illustrious predecessors John Henry Newman, Bernard Lonergan, S.J., and Charles Taylor. Few scholars would be able to produce a work that reflects such historical learning, philosophical depth, and religious wisdom. McCarthy’s description of ‘critical belonging’ captures beautifully what it means for one to love the church today—not naïvely, but as an adult. If the church drives you crazy, you ought to read this book; if the church does not drive you crazy, you ought to read this book." -- Stephen J. Pope, Boston College
Autobiography, Crime and Punishment, History, Philosophy, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Theology, Vatican II
Michael Joyce
Michael Joyce, acclaimed novelist, poet, critic, media wayfinder, and Professor of English at Vassar College, talks about his most recent novel, Remedia: A Picaresque (Steerage, 2018), and about creative writing, teaching, hypermedia and other conceptual wormholes, and about his relationship with media and literature. Count on Michael Joyce to reinvent the genre of the picaresque novel in a mode suited to the 21st century! With a light touch and sure sense of prose rhythm, he introduces a leitmotif of randomly appearing doorways, thresholds into and out of the world, to puncture the narrative space of this engaging novel. Scenes appear within scenes as the tales unfold in true keeping with the genre that recounts a hero’s progress. The sequence of events is made to make sense by sheer deftness of Joyce’s skill as a narrator and his willingness to use the unexpected as a structuring device, as well as an excuse to delight. Making sense of the past through the telling of his tales, Joyce offers his readers a fresh experience of a classic form filled with contemporary references. — Johanna Drucker
American Literature, Antiquarianism, Authorship, Diversity, Feminism, Fiction, Gender, Liberal Arts, Material Culture, Media Studies, Native America, Photography, Religion, Sexism, Shamanism, Utopias, VC
Michael S. Roth
In the second edition of our series on the value and uses of liberal arts education in contemporary society, intellectual historian Michael S. Roth, President of Wesleyan University, talks about his book Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, published in 2014 by Yale University Press. "Conflicting streams of thought flow through American intellectual history: W. E. B. DuBois’s humanistic principles of pedagogy for newly emancipated slaves developed in opposition to Booker T. Washington’s educational utilitarianism, for example. Jane Addams’s emphasis on the cultivation of empathy and John Dewey’s calls for education as civic engagement were rejected as impractical by those who aimed to train students for particular economic tasks. Roth explores these arguments (and more), considers the state of higher education today, and concludes with a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the founding of the nation, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future. "
American History, Civil Rights Struggle, Democracy, Higher Education, Interdisciplinarity, Jane Addams, John Dewey, Liberal Arts, Linguistic Diversity, Memory, Philosophy, Pragmatism, Study, W.E.B. DuBois
Michael V. Pisani
Michael Pisani, music historian and professor of music at Vassar College, talks about his book Imagining Native America in Music, published by Yale University Press.
American History, Black Hawk, Ethnography, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Fenimore Cooper, Music, Native America, Stereotypes, Transculturation, VC, Western Films
Michael Witmore
Michael Witmore (VC '89), Shakespeare scholar and Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, talks about the Folger's mission, history, and public programs, and about Shakespeare as an educational force in American life on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.
Digital Humanities, Drama, Early Modern Studies, Education, Humanism, Humanities, Interdisciplinarity, John Dewey, Libraries, Literature, Metadata, Performance, Print Culture, Vassar College, VC
Mildred Budny
Mildred Budny (VC'71), a Princeton-based medievalist, iconographer, scholarly impresario, and editor extraordinaire of the monumental Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge: An Illustrated Catalogue, talks about her life with manuscripts, interdisciplinary scholarship, the uses of a Vassar education, and her organization, the Research group on Manuscript Evidence and its programs and publications. Full interview.
Archaeology, Bibliography, Editing, Iconography, Interdisciplinarity, Libraries and Archives, Manuscripts, Material Culture, Medieval Studies, Publishing, Research Institutes, Typography, Vassar College, VC
Mildred Budny
Mildred Budny (VC'71), a Princeton-based medievalist, iconographer, scholarly impresario, and editor extraordinaire of the monumental Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge: An Illustrated Catalogue, talks about her life with manuscripts, interdisciplinary scholarship, the uses of a Vassar education, and her organization, the Research group on Manuscript Evidence and its programs and publications. Broadcast version.
Archaeology, Bibliography, Editing, Iconography, Interdisciplinarity, Libraries and Archives, Manuscripts, Material Culture, Medieval Studies, Publishing, Research Institutes, Typography, Vassar College, VC
Mindell Dubansky
Mindell Dubansky, Preservation Librarian at the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, talks about her collection of "blooks" -- objects disguised as books -- on view at the Grolier Club in New York through March 12 entitled "Blooks -- The Art of Books That Aren't."
Advertising, Antiquarianism, Bibliography, Bookbinding, Commercialism, Curatorship, Exhibitions, Graphic Design, Grolier Club, Humor, Independent Scholarship, Material Culture, Memorialization, Preservation
Mita Choudhury
Mita Choudhury, Professor of History at Vassar College, discusses her book The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint: A Tale of Sex, Religion and Politics in Eighteenth-Century France, published by Pennsylvania University Press in 2015. “Students of eighteenth-century France have long been aware of the importance of the Cadière affair. Fortunately, the case has now found its historian. Mita Choudhury, a leading expert on the politics of theological conflict in Old Regime France, has given us a rich account of the scandalous provincial encounter in the early 1730s that resounded all the way to the halls of Versailles and the Sorbonne.”—Jeffrey S. Ravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Archives, Early Modern Studies, French Revolution, Historiography, History, Jules Michelet, Law, Music, Public Opinion, Religion, VC
Molly Nesbit
Vassar Professor Molly Nesbit (VC'74) talks about her book, featured in last year's New York Art Book Fair at PS1: The Pragmatism in the History of Art, published in 2012 by Periscope Books. "The Pragmatism in the History of Art traces the questions that modern art history has used to make sense of the changes overtaking both art and life. Author and art historian Molly Nesbit explores these inquiries through an examination of a range of works by figures across art, philosophy, and film, including: Meyer Schapiro, T.J. Clark, Alexander Dorner, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Chris Marker, Lawrence Weiner, Gordon Matta-Clark, and more. Pragmatism is the first volume of Pre-Occupations, a series compiling Nesbit's writings."
Art History, Avant-garde, Cultural Democracy, Cultural Transmission, Curatorship, Feminism, George Kubler, Henri Focillon, Historiography, John Dewey, Linda Nochlin, Meyer Shapiro, Modernism, Pragmatism, RISD, VC
Molly Nesbit
Molly Nesbit, Professor of Art at Vassar College, talks about her new book, Midnight: The Tempest Essays, just published in 2017 by Inventory Books.“'What Was An Author?' Right from the opening words of these Tempest Essays, we see the great Molly Nesbit at work undoing and radically repositioning the time codes for the artist. She creates a living archive of critical debates, politics and philosophies. She paints a vivid picture of the many junctions between people, objects, quasi-objects and non-objects throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. This is a true protest against forgetting as well as a toolbox for contemporary art criticism. Call it a guidebook to the labyrinth of reality.” —Hans Ulrich Obrist
Art History, Avant-garde, Collectives, Drawing, Feminism, Films, Historicism, Historiography, Innovation, Law, Linda Nochlin, Material Culture, Photography, Vassar College, VC, Visualization
N. Katherine Hayles
N. Katherine Hayles, Director of Graduate Studies in the Program in Literature at Duke University and widely regarded as the most illuminating public intellectual writing on technology and culture today, talks about her latest book: How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis, Published by the University of Chicago Press. “With a rift growing between digital scholarship and its print-based counterpart, Hayles argues for contemporary technogenesis—the belief that humans and technics are coevolving—and advocates for what she calls comparative media studies, a new approach to locating digital work within print traditions and vice versa."
Artificial Intelligence, Cognition, Cybernetics, Digital Humanities, Embodiment, Higher Education, Machine Reading, Media Studies, Memory, Natural Selection, Perception, Posthumanism, Reading Practices
Nancy Bisaha
Nancy Bisaha, professor of history at Vassar College, talks about her book, Creating East and West: Renaissance Humanists and the Ottoman Turks, which "underscores the importance of this period for the evolution of concepts such as East and West, Europe and Asia, and suggests how these Renaissance views ... may still inform the modern discourse on Islam and the West." - RQ
Bosnian-Serbian Conflict, Colonialism, Higher Education, Historiography, Humanism, Islam, Libraries and Archives, Medieval Studies, Memory, Neoconservatism, Renaissance Studies, VC
Nicholas A. Basbanes
Writer, journalist, cultural historian and bibliophile Nicholas A. Basbanes talks about his book On Paper: The Everything of Its Two Thousand Year History (Knopf), winner of the Amercian Library Association's Best Book of the Year award for 2013. "A consideration of all things paper—its invention that revolutionized human civilization; its thousand-fold uses (and misuses), proliferation, and sweeping influence on society; its makers, shapers, collectors, and pulpers—written by the admired cultural historian and author of the trilogy on all things book-related: A Gentle Madness; Patience and Fortitude; and A Splendor of Letters."
Authorship, Commercialism, Conservation, Cultural Transmission, Guttenberg, History, Innovation, Manuscripts, Material Culture, Note-taking, Papermaking, Stamp Act, World Trade Center
Nicholas Adams
Architectural historian and Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Art Nicholas Adams talks about the exhibition now on view in the Vassar College Library, Art Library, and Frances Lehman Loeb Center entitled: The Architect's Library: Notable Books on Architectural Themes in the Vassar College Library. "The book as the site of canonicity and debate from Vignola to Robert Venturi was the overarching theme of the exhibition, one of whose contributions was to remind us that the design of the book itself participated powerfully in projecting the artistic attitudes that shaped its content. . . . This exhibition showed that the study of what libraries own in the field of architecture, how titles were acquired or received through donation, and the significance of a collection for an institution’s identity and development are worthy educational topics." -- Joseph M. Siry, JSAH
Antiquarianism, Architecture, Archival Studies, Archives, Bibliography, Biography, Elias Magoon, Exhibitions, Matthew Vassar, Modernism, Renaissance Studies, Vassar College, VC, Victorian Studies
Nicholas Adams
Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Art Nicholas Adams discusses his new book: Gunnar Asplund's Gothenburg: The Transformation of Public Architecture in Interwar Europe (Penn State, 2014). “This brilliant book offers a unique insight into one of the most cherished models of modern monumentality: the Gothenburg Courthouse extension, designed by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund and completed in 1936. Setting his subject in an international perspective, Nicholas Adams carefully addresses questions on modern law and modern architecture, reaching far beyond the actual case. Through his inclusively contextual approach, we learn that the introduction of modernism in public architecture was a difficult task, operating on different levels of a democratic society through the interplay of architect, commissioner, and—not least—public opinion.” -- Anders Bergstöm, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
Architecture, Avant-garde, Crime and Punishment, Democracy, Design History, History, Journalism, Material Culture, Modernism, Monumentality, Music, Political Philosophy, Representation, Sculpture, VC
Nicholas Adams
Nicholas Adams, architectural historian and Professor of Art at Vassar College, discusses his landmark survey and history of the Twentieth Century's most prolific architectural collaborative: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill: SOM Since 1936.
American History, Architecture, Archives, Century of Progress Exhibition, Collectivism, Commercialism, Ezra Stoller, Great Depression, Modernism, Photography, Skyscraper Museum, VC, World Trade Center
Nicholas Adams
Architectural historian Nicholas Adams, Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Art at Vassar College, talks about the exhibition he conceived and helped to curate at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library entitled Building Buffalo: Buildings from Books, Books from Buildings: Books on Architecture and Landscape from the Rare Book Collection of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, on view until March 31, 2018.
American History, Architecture, Bibliography, Collection Development, Cultural Democracy, Landscape, Libraries and Archives, Modernism, Preservation, Reading, Research Institutes, Urban Studies, VC
Olga Bush
Olga Bush, Visiting Associate Professor of Art History at Bard College, discusses her book: Reframing the Alhambra: Architecture, Poetry, Textiles, and Court Ceremonial (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). The book was a finalist for the College Art Association's 2019 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, which "honors an especially distinguished book in the history of art, published in the English language." "The Nasrid builders of the Alhambra – the best-preserved medieval Muslim palatial city – were so exacting that some of their work could not be fully explained until the invention of fractal geometry. Their design principles have been obscured, however, by the loss of all archival material. This book resolves that impasse by investigating the neglected, interdisciplinary contexts of medieval poetics and optics and through comparative study of Islamic court ceremonials. This reframing enables the reconstruction of the underlying, integrated aesthetic, focusing on the harmonious interrelationship between diverse artistic media – architecture, poetry and textiles – in the experience of the beholder, resulting in a new understanding of the Alhambra."
Aesthetics, Architecture, Cognition, Design History, Epigraphy, Interdisciplinarity, Islam, Mathematics, Medieval Studies, Nasrid Dynasty, Optics, Poetry, Rhetoric, Textiles, VC
Patricia Phagan
Patricia Phagan, Philip and Lynn Strauss Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, talks about the exhibition "Fluid Expressions: The Prints of Helen Frankenthaler from the Collections of Gordon D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundations," on view at the Center through December 10, 2017. "Widely known for her iconic “soak-stain” canvases, acclaimed artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was an equally inventive printmaker who took risks in a medium not frequently explored by abstract expressionists. Fluid Expressions: The Prints of Helen Frankenthaler, from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation highlights Frankenthaler’s often-overlooked, yet highly original print production. The exhibition will be making its only northeast stop at Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center October 6-December 10, 2017. This exhibition is free and open to the public."
Abstract Expressionism, Art History, Avant-garde, Color Processes, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Innovation, Landscape, Printmaking
Patricia Phagan
Patricia Phagan, Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar, will discuss the exhibition currently on view at the Center through June 29, 2014 entitled "Mastering Light: From the Natural to the Artificial."
Curatorship, Elias Magoon, Exhibitions, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Landscape, Light, Printmaking, Vassar College
Patricia Phagan
Patricia Phagan, Philip and Lynn Strauss Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, talks about her exhibition: Celebrating Heroes: American Mural Studies of the 1930s and 1940s from the Susan and Steven Hirsch Collection on view September 2 - December 18, 2016.
American History, Cultural Democracy, Drawing, Exhibitions, FAP, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Murals, New Deal, Progressive Movement, PWAP, SFA, WPA
Patricia Phagan
Patricia Phagan, Philip and Lynn Strauss Curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, talks about her exhibition Past Time: Geology in European and American Art on view at the Art Center September 21 - December 9, 2018. "Past Time: Geology in European and American Art looks at sketches and studies made by European and American artists from the 1770s to the 1890s who were engaged with a new, scientific emphasis on the Earth. In this arguably golden age of art and science, artists traveled and investigated the land internationally, noting Earth’s craggy features keenly in their watercolors, drawings, and oil sketches made on the spot or back in the studio. From a topographical, often strata-focused means to a later mode that evoked nature’s great transformational powers over time, this major loan exhibition explores European and American artists pursuing geological wonders."
Archaeology, Art History, Drawing, Exhibitions, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Geology. Sketchbooks, Illustration, Landscape, Painting, Paleography, Science and Art
Patricia Phagan
Patricia Phagan, Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar, will discuss the exhibition currently on view at the Center through December 14, 2014 entitled: Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475-1540. "Like Albrecht Dürer’s Nuremberg, the city of Augsburg was vital to the flowering of the Renaissance in Germany. The exhibition features prints, drawings, illustrated books, medals, and armor from Augsburg and addresses the themes of Christian devotion and the Reformation, moral conduct and everyday life, and art made for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I."
Allegory, Art History, Chief Information Officers, Curatorship, Drawing, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Humanism, Innovation, Printmaking, Professional Ethics, Religion, Renaissance Studies
Patricia Phagan
Patricia Phagan, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Center at Vassar, talks about the exhibition: For the People: American Mural Drawings of the 1930s and 1940s, on view January 12 - March 11, 2007.
Academic Freedom, American History, Cultural Democracy, Drawing, Exhibitions, FAP, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Murals, New Deal, Progressive Movement, PWAP, SFA, WPA
Patricia Phagan and Peter van Alfen
Patricia Phagan, Philip and Lynn Strauss Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and Peter van Alfen, Margaret Thompson Curator of Ancient Greek Coins at the American Numismatic Society in New York, discuss their exhibition: The Art of Devastation: Medals and Posters of the Great War, on view at the Loeb Center January 27 - April 9, 2017.
Advertising, American History, American Numismatic Society, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Graphic Design, History, Immigration, Memorialization, Numismatics, Propaganda. Mass Media, WWI
Peipei Qiu
Peipei Qiu, Professor of Chinese and Japanese on the Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Chair and Director of Asian Studies at Vassar, talks about her book Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves, published this year by Oxford University Press. "Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves features the personal narratives of twelve women forced into sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied their hometowns. Beginning with their prewar lives and continuing through their enslavement to their postwar struggles for justice, these interviews reveal that the prolonged suffering of the comfort station survivors was not contained to wartime atrocities but was rather a lifelong condition resulting from various social, political, and cultural factors. In addition, their stories bring to light several previously hidden aspects of the comfort women system: the ransoms the occupation army forced the victims' families to pay, the various types of improvised comfort stations set up by small military units throughout the battle zones and occupied regions, and the sheer scope of the military sexual slavery-much larger than previously assumed. The personal narratives of these survivors combined with the testimonies of witnesses, investigative reports, and local histories also reveal a correlation between the proliferation of the comfort stations and the progression of Japan's military offensive."
Archives, Asian Studies, Historiography, History, Human Rights, Interdisciplinarity, Memory, Oral History, VC, Women's Studies, WWII
Perry Willett
Perry Willett, Head of the Digital Library Production Service of the University of Michigan Libraries, discusses the U of M's role in the Google Books Library Project and Google's endeavor to translate the book holdings of the world's major research libraries into digital form for universal access via Google Book Search.
Censorship, Copyright, Cultural Democracy, Digital Library Federation, Google, Google Maps, Libraries and Archives, Scholarly Communication, University of Michigan, Vannevar Bush
Peter Drummey
Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society, talks about the Society, the keeping of historical archives and manuscripts in the age of the Internet, and the exhibit: My Dearest Friend, Letters of Abigail and John Adams from the Collections of the MHS, on view through April 30, 2008 in the Archives and Special Collections Library of the Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library at Vassar College
American History, Archives, Biography, Collection Development, Education, Feminism, Historiography, Memory, Professional Ethics, Scholarly Communication, Slavery
R. David Lankes
R. David Lankes, Syracuse University Professor, Dean's Scholar, and Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse, will talk about his vision for a new conception of librarians as "radical agents of positive change" in their role as facilitators of community learning and knowledge-building, and his books Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today's Complex World (2012), and The Atlas of New Librarianship (MIT, 2011), winner of the ABC-CLIO Award for the Best Book in Library Literature."The Atlas is not a book; it is a manifesto, a set of principles and convictions aimed at shaking new life and belief into a field that too often fears for its own future. Read it and be prepared to act." -- Andrew Dillon, University of Texas at Austin.
Democracy, Education, Epistemology, Innovation, Libraries and Archives, MOOCs, Professional Ethics
Rachel Friedman and Ronald D. Patkus
Rachel Friedman, Associate Professor of Greek and Roman Studies and Ronald D. Patkus, Associate Director of the Library for Special Collections at Vassar College, discuss their exhibition Homer's Odyssey: A Sampling of Editions in English 1616-2017, on view in the Frederick Thompson Library of Vassar College through June 16, 2018. Homer’s Odyssey: A Sampling of Editions in English, 1616–2017, explores key works housed in Vassar’s Archives & Special Collections Library and Main Library. Nineteen books, about a third of the total number of English translations, are on display. They include some high points in printing and Homeric studies. The first work is George Chapman’s edition of Homer, made famous by the poem about it that was penned by the Romantic John Keats “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” The most recent example in the exhibition is University of Pennsylvania Professor Emily Wilson’s translation, the first by a woman. In between are books notable for their literary qualities and/or aesthetic aspects: John Ogilby’s folio with large engraved illustrations; early editions by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes and by Alexander Pope; several eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English offerings by writers such as William Cowper and William Morris; the first American translation, by William Cullen Bryant; a number of fine press editions, including the beautiful book designed by Bruce Rogers; and several mid and late twentieth-century examples, which have reached wide audiences. Together these works indicate an ongoing interest in the poem, while at the same time showing very different presentations.
Bibliography, Charisma, Classical Studies, Cultural Transmission, Literary History, Print Culture, Translation, Vassar College, VC
Radha Pandey
Book artist and papermaker Radha Pandey discusses her artist's books, traditional artisinal papermaking, and the history of papermaking on the Indian subcontinent.
Artists' Books, Color Processes, Cultural Transmission, History, Medieval Studies, Papermaking, Women's Studio Workshop
Raquel Rabinovich
The artist Raquel Rabinovich (b. Argentina 1929) will discuss her exhibition Raquel Rabinovich: The Reading Room, on view in the Frederick Thompson Memorial Library at Vassar College October 25 - December 20, 2018. The exhibition is being held concurrently with the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center exhibition Past Time: Geology in European and American Art and another related exhibition in the Vassar College Art Library: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Geological Illustration from Catastrophism to the Anthropocene. "The exhibition title The Reading Room refers to the location where the works are installed (an intervention of sorts in the south transept of Vassar's main library) but also serves as a metaphor for a possible approach to the work. The selections on view each represent an attempt to transcend the routine of every day, inviting viewers to enter into a place of contemplation in which many layers of meaning can be read in, or into, the individual artworks. Rabinovich describes this approach as a language of metaphors. In a recent interview she said, 'Beyond the language of the novel or the poem or the story, there is always an element that is beyond the words, in between the lines, which is not literal. And that world is, for me, a wonderful world. I love that world. I resonate with that world.'"
Archaeology, Art History, Conceptual Art, Cryptography, Curatorship, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Landscape, Language, Libraries and Archives, Light, Literature, Perception, Reading, Sculpture, Time in Art
Ray English
Ray English, Director of Libraries at Oberlin College and Chair of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, will talk on behalf of the watershed Federal Research Public Access Act (S-2695) and its manifold benefits for libraries, higher education, and information-seekers at large, and about what you can do to help the cause of open access.
Cultural Democracy, Elsevier B.V., Federal Research Public Access Act, Libraries and Archives, Open Access Movement, Scholarly Communication, Serials Publishing, SPARC, Walt Whitman
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca Edwards, Eloise Ellery Professor of History at Vassar College, offers new perspectives on the transformations that swept the new American nation in the period between Emancipation and the first deployment of American troops overseas from her book New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age.
American History, Colonialism, Coxey's Army, Cultural Democracy, Feminism, Frank Baum, Gilded Age, Mark Twain, New Deal, Progressive Movement, Reconstruction, Textual Communities, VC, Walt Whitman
Rebecca Rego Barry
Rebecca Rego Barry, editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine, discusses her book Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places (Voyageur, 2015). "Anyone who loves used and rare books has stories to tell about discovering gems in unlikely places. These tales become badges of honor for bibliophiles and no-one has more stories of literary discoveries than booksellers." -- Richard Davies, Abebooks Reading Copy
American History, American Literature, Antiquarianism, Archives, Bibliography, Bookselling, Editing, Journalism, Libraries and Archives, Material Culture, Professional Ethics, Textual Communities, World Wide Web
Richard E. Wilson
Richard E. Wilson, Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Music, retiring this month after 50 years of teaching at Vassar College, talks aout music, education, his career and his life at Vassar. "Wilson is a Professor of Music on the Mary Conover Mellon Chair. In addition to his 50 years of teaching at the college, Wilson is the composer of over one hundred works in many genres. His opera, Aethelred the Unready, was staged in 2011 in Symphony Space, New York City. He was a recent recipient of the Roger Sessions Memorial Bogliasco Fellowship as well as an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has previously received the Hinrichsen Award, the Stoeger Prize, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Burge/Eastman Prize, a Frank Huntington Beebe Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He joined the Vassar Faculty in 1966; he has served as Composer-in-Residence with the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992."
Composition, Curriculum, Higher Education, Memory, Music, Performance, Retirement, Vassar College, VC
Robert Brigham
Robert K. Brigham, Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations at Vassar College, discusses his new book entitled: Is Iraq another Vietnam?
American History, Iraq War, Memory, Neoconservatism, Rand Corporation, VC, Vietnam War
Robert Darnton
Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian at Harvard University talks about his book Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Harvard, 2012). "In 1749 Parisians feasted on a half-dozen poems that ridiculed Louis XV for being humiliated in foreign affairs by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle as well as in the royal bed by an ignoble mistress. The king ordered a crackdown on unauthorized poetry recitals, and the police rounded up fourteen suspects, mostly students, clerks and priests, and gathered evidence. The investigation is the subject of Robert Darnton's fascinating Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris. As Darnton retraces the steps of the police, he branches off into explorations of the world of ordinary people under the ancien régime and the formation of public opinion in an oral culture. He also has a polemical aim. 'The marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past,' he writes, 'even a sense that communication has no history' before the days of television and the Internet. Darnton deflates that illusion by showing how poems seeped into the public sphere as they passed through oral and print media: first copied on scraps of paper, then dictated by one person to another, then memorized and sung to an audience. For Darnton, poetry was an information network long before networks were news." -- John Palattella The Nation
Archives, Censorship, Crime and Punishment, Cultural Democracy, Cultural Transmission, Early Modern Studies, French Revolution, Historiography, History, Jules Michelet, Media Studies, Music, Surveillance
Robert DeMaria, Jr.
Robert DeMaria, Jr., Henry Noble McCracken Professor of English at Vassar College, talks about the paragon of eighteenth-century English scholarship and letters Samuel Johnson, Johnson's reading habits, his monumental Dictionary of the English Language, scholarly editing, and the final installments of the Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson.
Authorship, Early Modern Studies, Editing, Epistemology, Humanism, Lexicography, Libraries and Archives, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Note-taking, Reading Practices, VC
Robert K. Brigham
Robert K. Brigham, Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations at Vassar College, discusses his book Reckless: Henry Kissinger and the Tragedy of Vietnam (PublicAffairs, 2018). The American war in Vietnam was concluded in 1973 after eight years of fighting, bloodshed, and loss. Yet the terms of the truce that ended the war were effectively identical to what had been offered to the Nixon administration four years earlier. Those four years cost America and Vietnam thousands of lives and billions of dollars, and they were the direct result of the supposed master plan of the most important voice in American foreign policy: Henry Kissinger. Using newly available archival material from the Nixon Presidential Library, Kissinger's personal papers, and material from the archives in Vietnam, Robert K. Brigham punctures the myth of Kissinger as an infallible mastermind. Instead, he constructs a portrait of a rash, opportunistic, and suggestible politician. It was personal political rivalries, the domestic political climate, and strategic confusion that drove Kissinger's actions. There was no great master plan or Bismarckian theory that supported how the US continued the war or conducted peace negotiations. Its length was doubled for nothing but the ego and poor judgment of a single figure. This distant tragedy, perpetuated by Kissinger's actions, forever changed both countries. Now, perhaps for the first time, we can see the full scale of that tragedy and the machinations that fed it.
American History, Diplomacy, Ethics, Government Documents, Higher Education, Libraries and Archives, VC, Vietnam War
Robert O. McClintock
We continue our series on the value of the liberal arts in contemporary society with a conversation with Robert O. McClintock, John L. and Sue Ann Weinberg Professor Emeritus in the Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education at Teacher's College, Columbia University in the City of New York, about his monograph, Formative Justice: To Make of Oneself What One Can and Should Become.
Aristotle, Copyright, Cultural Democracy, Curriculum, Cybernetics, Digital Libraries, Education, Hannah Arendt, Innovation, Justice, Liberal Arts, Libraries, Moral Philosophy, Plato, Political Philosophy, Publishing
Roberta Shaffer
Roberta Shaffer (VC'74), Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress and former Dean of the Library School at the University of Texas, Austin, talks in an interview recorded in her offices about the Library of Congress, its organization, structure, architecture, collections, spirit, and historic mission, as well as about library education and librarianship as a career in our information-driven society.
Aliteracy, American History, Collection Development, Copyright, Cultural Democracy, Higher Education, Internationalism, Law Libraries, Library Education, Library of Congress, Public Domain, VC, World Trade Center
Ronald D. Patkus
Historian Ronald D. Patkus, Associate Director of the Library for Special Collections at Vassar College, talks about his recent book The Privately Printed Bible: Private and Fine Press Editions of Biblical Texts in the British Isles and North America 1892-2000 (Oak Knoll 2017). The Privately Printed Bible is the first book to offer a broad survey of the history of private and fine press printings of biblical texts. Author Ronald Patkus focuses on English-language examples from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and North America, and includes more than 500 works in his study. He begins with the late nineteenth century revival of printing which took place in England under the influence of William Morris, and continues on through the twentieth century. Along the way he describes key texts, such as the Doves Bible, the Oxford Lectern Bible, the Golden Cockerel Four Gospels, the Spiral Press Ecclesiastes, the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, and the Arion Press Bible. He also discusses lesser-known works that are part of the story.
Art History, Bible, Bibliography, Bookbinding, Bookselling, Education, Graphic Design, Libraries, Print Culture, Private Press Movement, Religion, Typography, Vassar College, VC
Ronald Patkus, Nikolai Firtich, Dan Ungurianu
Historian and Associate Director of the Library for Special Collections Ronald D. Patkus joins Professors Nikolai Firtich and Dan Ungurianu of the Vassar Department of Russian to discuss the great Russian writer Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) and the exhibit on view 23 January through June 10, 2019 in the Thompson Memorial Library entitled Ivan Turgenev and His Library, celebrating the bicentennial of Turgenev's birth.
Bibliography, Curatorship, Exhibitions, Historiography, Internationalism, Libraries and Archives, Lucy Maynard Salmon, Provenance, Revolution, Russian Literature, Translation, Vassar College, VC, Victorian Studies
Sally V. Keil
Writer and Jungian psychological counselor Sally V. Keil (VC '68) talks about her book on Carl Jung's personality typology To Live in the World as Ourselves: Self-Discovery and Better Relationships Through Jung's Typology (Four Directions, 2014, rev. 2017). "What Quiet has done for introversion, To Live in the World as Ourselves does for the entire scheme of Jung's typology. Extraversion, introversion, thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation, and the ongoing dynamics of psychological experience they represent, are all made clear in an accessible style that goes to the heart of Jung's pioneering concepts." - Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche
Art History, Authorship, Diversity, Education, Healing, Interdisciplinarity, Literary Criticism, Mythography, Perception, Pscyhology, Stereotypes, Vassar College, VC
Sally Van Wagenen Keil
Author and pilot Sally Van Wagenen Keil (VC ' 68) discusses her narrative history of the WASPs (Women's Air Service Pilots) of the Second World War, Those Wonderful Women in Their Flying Machines (New Directions, 1990). "Those Wonderful Women in their Flying Machines hones in on World War II to recount the story of the over 1,000 women pilots who flew in the military as part of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). Over 25,000 women applied and 1,800 were selected to train at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. From 1942 to '44, these pilots flew over 60 million miles in every type of plane the airforce had, and 38 women lost their lives in service. Here, in biography style, the niece of one of these pilots recreates the amazing story of what she calls 'one of the best-kept secrets of World War II.'"
American History, Aviation, Democracy, Diversity, Eleanor Roosevelt, Feminism, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Gender, History, Journalism, Modernism, Stereotypes, VC, Women's Studies, WWII
Seaver Leslie
Artist Seaver Leslie discusses his work and the exhibition of magnificent glass sculptures on view in Thompson Library at Vassar College through November 22 entitled the Ulysses Cylinders by Dale Chihuly and Sever Leslie, with Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick. "Gorgeous, enigmatic, and provocative, Dale Chihuly's Ulysses Cylinders stand as some of the artists's most intellectually compelling and unique works. Begun in 1975 and completed nearly forty years later in 2014, the Ulysses Cylinders--adapting drawings by Seaver Leslie to Glass--follow the course of James Joyce's Ulysses, in equal parts representation of the senses in the novel and insightful interpretation of Joyce's work and its place in the history of Irish culture and literary allusion."
Allegory, Authorship, Autobiography, Drawing, Exhibitions, Glassmaking, Innovation, Literary History, Memory, Modernism, Odyssey, Painting, RISD, Visualization

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