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Release date:
Sept. 27, 2001
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or

British Author David Lodge To Deliver Emory's Ellmann Lectures


WHO: British author and literary critic David Lodge
WHAT: Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature
WHEN: Lectures: Sunday, Oct. 7–Tuesday, Oct. 9; reading and book signing Wednesday, Oct. 10
COST: Free and open to the public. 404-727-6420


British author David Lodge will share his satirical wit and academic acumen in the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature at Emory Oct. 7-9. Lodge’s three-lecture series will be followed Oct. 10 by a reading from his newest novel, "Thinks…," a comic look at the field of cognitive science. Following five years of research into cognitive psychology for "Thinks…," the theme of Lodge’s Ellmann Lectures is "Consciousness and the Novel."

Lodge, retired from a 27-year career as professor of modern English literature at the University of Birmingham, also is a best-selling author of social comedies, including "Changing Places" (1975), "Small World" (1984), "Nice Work" (1988), "Paradise News" (1991), and "Therapy" (1999). He is best known for his novels of religious and academic dissatisfaction, and often deals with the conflict between sexual desires and spiritual boundaries. Lodge’s Catholicism is a common thread through most of his fiction, and he described himself in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in London as "an agnostic Catholic hanging on by my fingernails."

"Thinks…" is the tale of the hapless heroine Helen Reed and "a charismatic, sexually swashbuckling cognitive scientist aptly named Messenger," according to Joyce Carol Oates in the Times (London) Literary Supplement. She describes Reed as "a novelist so steeped in tradition that in times of crises she appeals to Henry James and Andrew Marvell." Reed is overwhelmed by questions raised by cognitive science, including how are mind and body connected, if they are connected; what is the soul; and most importantly, are we simply brains with parts "lighting up like a pinball machine, as different emotions and sensations are triggered?"

Lodge was suggested for the Ellmann Lectures by an international panel of scholars. According to Ronald Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English and director of the series, 1999 lecturer A.S. Byatt had such a good experience that she offered to invite Lodge personally.

Lodge is a novelist, playwright and literary critic who has won a number of awards for his fiction, including the Whitbread Award for "How Far Can You Go?" (1980), a Booker Prize nomination for "Small World" and the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award for "Nice Work." He was honored with the Commander of the British Empire in 1998 for his service to literature and is a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.

The Ellmann Lectures were endowed in honor of the literary achievement of Richard Ellmann (1918-1987), who served Emory as the first Robert W. Woodruff Professor from 1980-87. For more than 40 years his writing set the highest standards of critical inquiry and humanistic scholarship. He was one of the most noted literary biographers of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce as well as an eminent scholar of W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens and other modern authors.

Ellmann’s public lectures were unparalleled in their appeal to a world-wide audience of readers for his use of language that invited the reader to share his personal engagement with serious literature. Past lecturers and invited readers are Seamus Heaney (1988), Denis Donoghue and Anthony Hecht (1990), Helen Vendler and Jorie Graham (1994), and Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Wole Soyinka (1996).

The lecture schedule is as follows:
• "Consciousness and the Two Cultures," 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building auditorium, 1440 Clifton Rd., Emory (corner of Clifton Road and Asbury Circle), followed by reception in the atrium.
• "First Person and Third Person," 8:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8. Goizueta Business School Auditorium, 1300 Clifton Rd., Emory.
• "Surface and Depth," 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9. Goizueta Business School Auditorium, 1300 Clifton Rd., Emory.
• Reading and book signing, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10. Glenn Memorial Auditorium, 1652 N. Decatur Rd., Emory. For those who want books signed but cannot attend the reading, books may be purchased in advance at Druid Hills Bookstore, 1401 Oxford Rd., in Emory Village (404-727-2665), and picked up later.
• An exhibition of materials related to the Ellmann Lectures will be on display in Schatten Gallery of Emory’s Woodruff Library, 540 Asbury Circle, during the week of the lectures.


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