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The Eugene Lunn Memorial Lecture: Stephen Greenblatt: Shakespeare’s Second Chance
In 1610, the 46-year-old Shakespeare wrote "The Winter’s Tale", a play about a 46-year-old king who recovers a wife and a daughter whom he believed he had irrevocably lost. He borrowed the plot from a potboiler written years earlier by his old nemesis Robert Greene. Even though very few details actually match Shakespeare’s life, there is something striking in his engagement with a story in which a father, haunted by a sense of guilt for the death of his only son, is reunited years later with the daughter whom he had cast away as an infant. Taking this story over from Greene, Shakespeare radically rewrote its ending to give the wayward husband the opportunity to repair his damaged relationship with his wife. "The Winter’s Tale" can be viewed as a template for understanding what it takes, according to Shakespeare, to have a second chance in life.

Stephen Greenblatt is an American Shakespearean, literary historian and author. He has served as the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University since 2000. Greenblatt is the general editor of "The Norton Shakespeare" (2015) and the general editor and contributor to "The Norton Anthology of English Literature". Greenblatt is one ofthe founders of New Historicism, a set of critical practices that he often refers to as "cultural poetics.” He won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2012 and the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2011 for "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern". This annual lectureship honors cultural historian Eugene Lunn, who during 20 years as a member of the faculty in the UC Davis Department of History distinguished himself as an esteemed teacher and mentor, and an influential scholar in the field of modern European intellectual history.

This lecture is made possible by the generosity of Michael Tennefoss and organized by the UC Davis Department of History. Co-sponsored by the Manetti Shrem Museum.

May 4, 2021 04:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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