New York University will host Knox College Professor Douglas Wilson for “Lincoln’s Encounter with Shakespeare,” a public lecture exploring the Bard’s influence on the Illinois rail splitter, on Wednesday, April 9, 6 p.m. at NYU’s Center for the Study of Transformative Lives (20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor Auditorium, between 5th and 6th Streets).
The free event is co-sponsored with the university’s Biography Seminar. An RSVP is required to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call 212.998.4291. Subways: 6 (Astor Place); N, R (8th Street).
Abraham Lincoln's love of Shakespeare was well known to his friends and associates and has been acknowledged by scholars. But such studies do not shed much light on either Lincoln or his era. Rather, they have consisted mainly of attempts to identify relevant sources —such as references to Shakespeare in Lincoln's writing or conversation — and speculations about the effects of Shakespeare on Lincoln's language and thought. Wilson’s approach has been quite different—he considers which texts Lincoln might have been familiar with and explores Shakespeare's standing in America in the antebellum period.
Wilson, a professor emeritus at Knox College in Illinois, is co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center and has authored or edited several works on Lincoln. These include “Herndon’s Informants: Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998) and “Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), both of which were awarded the Lincoln Prize, as well as three volumes co-edited with Rodney Davis: “Letters and Interviews about Abraham Lincoln” (1998), “Herndon’s Lincoln” (2006), and “The Lincoln-Douglas Debates” (2008).
The Center for the Study of Transformative Lives at New York University fosters research, teaching, and education centering on the lives of exemplary individuals whose dedication, genius, and moral vision helped shape the course of human events. The work of the Center is motivated by the conviction that the example of a great and good life, studied in depth and at length, can become a guiding influence on people’s lives today as they confront their own choices, decisions, and opportunities. Focusing on well-known and less-well-known figures from the present and the past, students and researchers study inspiring individuals in the context of their times and the circles in which they moved, using them as powerful lenses through which to view history and understand societal change. For more, go to: http://www.transformativelives.org/.
The New York University Biography Seminar was founded by Aileen Ward, the highly acclaimed biographer of John Keats, in the 1970s. It has been a distinguished location for discussion of issues and projects in biography. From its origin, it has been a place where biographers in the academy could meet and discuss issues in biography with established career biographers. Its leaders have included Fred Karl, Kenneth Silverman, Joan Peyser, and Patricia Bosworth.