The lecture will treat the Lazare section of the second part of Malraux's Anti-Mémoires, La Corde et les souris. In that text Malraux attempts to overcome human transcience and mortality by memorializing the ephemeral through the artifice of writing. The rhetoric of the writer's self-portrait affords the subject a reprieve from death by effacing the inherent status of contingency. Like Montaigne's famous fall from the horse in which the writer narrates the journey to death and its return, Malraux's text asks us to contemplate how one can possibly narrate that which cannot possibly be narrated.
Lawrence Kritzman is Professor of French & Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, and is a leading academic authority on psychoanalysis, 16th- and 20th-century French literature and culture, intellectual history, and critical theory. He is also a prolific and respected public scholar and advocate for French Studies, who has published on contemporary politics and is frequently interviewed by French and English media. In recognition of his work as a cultural ambassador, he has received many honors from the French government, most recently membership in the Légion d'Honneur (2012) and the Société d'histoire littéraire de la France (2013). Some of his many single-authored books include influential studies of Renaissance gender and sexuality, and rhetoric and imagination in Montaigne. He is a co-author, editor, and general "rassembleur" of leading scholars of Francophone intellectual culture, an example of which is the monumental Columbia History of Twentieth Century French Thought (2006). He is also the founder of the Institute of French Cultural Studies, a unique professional development workshop for younger scholars entering the profession.
Event sponsors: Simpson Center for the Humanities, Division of French & Italian Studies