Contemporary culture topic of Grand Valley Fall Arts Celebration lecture
Award-winning writer, critic and translator Daniel Mendelsohn will present “Medea on the Jersey Shore: Tragedy and the Crisis of Reality in Contemporary Culture,” Thursday, September 20, 7 p.m., Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The lecture is one of six events during Grand Valley’s popular Fall Arts Celebration.
Earlier this year, Mendelsohn was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as part of a 2012 class that included Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, actor Clint Eastwood, and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Trying to pigeonhole Mendelsohn‘s own area of expertise is a challenge, given his broad range of interests and writings. A common element found in much of his work is fresh insight about contemporary culture as influenced by his scholarly training as a classicist.
Mendelsohn, now the Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College, studied Classics at the University of Virginia and Princeton University, where he completed his doctorate in 1994. Since then his articles, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared frequently in such diverse publications as The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Esquire, Travel + Leisure, and The Paris Review.
A recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Excellence in Reviewing (2001) and the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism (2002), Mendelsohn has written six books, including an award-winning account of his search for the truth about six relatives who perished in the Holocaust, “The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million.” A collection of essays, “How Beautiful It Is And How Easily It Can Be Broken,” was a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2008. “Waiting for the Barbarians,” a new collection of Mendelsohn’s essays on subjects ranging from Susan Sontag and Noël Coward, to TV’s “Mad Men” and Greek myth in “Spider-Man,” will be published in October.
Mendelsohn’s lecture will be followed by book signing and a reception. All Fall Arts Celebration events are free and open to the public.