Author Marilynne Robinson To Speak At Yale

March 11, 2009

marilynne-robinson-photo2We don’t normally delve into events at other locations, however, an appearance by award-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson at Yale University bears mention. Robinson will deliver the 2009 Dwight Terry Lectures in 102 Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street, New Haven at 4:30 p.m. on March 24, 26, 31 and April 2nd. The lectures are free and open to the public with a reception following each.

Robinson’s theme is “Absence of Mind: the Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self.” The lectures, titled “On Human Nature,” “The Strange History of Altruism,” “The Freudian Self” and “Thinking Again,” will explore the significance of reflection and the power of unvoiced thoughts in defining the self.

“There is something uniquely human in the fact that we can pose questions to ourselves about ourselves, and questions that actually matter, that actually change reality,” says Robinson. “Each of us lives within this mystery, elaborating human experience out of resources we only discover as we exploit them.”

“Inwardness is crucial to both her fiction and her understanding of the soul’s relation to God,” notes Amy Hungerford, Yale professor of English. In one of Robinson’s essays, “she talks about how the thoughts of other human beings would astonish us if those thoughts took voice in the world. Her work as a writer is to make those voices of inwardness … the voices we can encounter in fiction.”

Robinson’s most recent novel, “Home,” was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and is currently a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which will be announced March 12. Her previous novel, “Gilead,” won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. “Housekeeping” won the PEN/Ernest Hemmingway Award for First Fiction and the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the Academy of American Arts and Letters, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Robinson received a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award in 1990 and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts in 1998. In addition to her novels, she is also the author of two books of nonfiction, “Mother Country” and “The Death of Adam.” She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

The Terry Lectureship, established in 1905, invites distinguished scholars to address issues concerning the ways in which science and philosophy inform religion and religion’s application to human welfare.