2:00PM “‘I Hear America Singing’: A Live Performance and Discussion of Music of Walt Whitman’s Era.” Performed by Steve Vitoff (guitar and vocals) featuring Professor David S. Reynolds providing historical and cultural background.
4:00PM Chistopher Castiglia (Penn State), “A Usable Past? How Romanticism Saved Criticism from the Cold War.”
Here is an abstract of the talk:
American critics who wrote during the Cold War—figures like Newton Arvin, Richard Chase, R.W.B. Lewis, and Richard Poirier—are often characterized now as advocates of apolitical turns to genre and literary form, of national exceptionalism, and of conformity to conventional lifestyles. In this paper, I revisit these critics to show how they adapted Romanticism to escape and, in many cases, to counter Cold War norms and values, often through the use of same-sex intimacy and imaginative world-making. Through a reparative reading of these critics, I hope to offer a model for how critics today might revalue terms central to these critics—idealism, imagination, inspiration—in ways that take us beyond the Cold War melancholy that has shaped a good deal of contemporary Americanist scholarship.
The events will be followed by a lovely Friday Forum reception.
Hoping you can join us!