Event date: Monday 30 May 2011, 5.30 p.m. – 7.00 p.m.
Location: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Blandijnberg 2, Faculty Room
“Trauma, ‘Sound Reasoning,’ and Semiotic Process: Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno” given by Prof. Geoffrey Hartman (Yale University)
In this lecture, Prof. Hartman revisits the work of the eighteent-century poet Christopher Smart, whom he has called “the greatest English extracanonical poet.” Written during Smart’s confinement for insanity, Jubilate Agno is an entirely unique text that is surprisingly relevant for the study of trauma.
Geoffrey Hartman is generally recognized as one of the founders of the field of trauma studies. In a distinguished career that is over half a century long, Prof. Hartman has made a decisive impact in at least three domains. He has been an authoritative voice in the study of Romanticism, and especially the poetry of William Wordsworth, since the publication of his landmark study Wordsworth’s Poetry 1787-1814 in 1964. In the 1970s and 1980s he became one of the most vocal mediators of so-called “French Theory” in the United States. From the early 1980s on his work has increasingly been occupied with questions of Holocaust remembrance and trauma studies. As a co-founder of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale, the university with which he has been affiliated for most of his career, he has been directly involved with the filming and preservation of testimonies. Important publications in this field are The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (1996) and The Fateful Question of Culture (1997). His acclaimed memoir A Scholar’s Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe was published in 2008.