Guest lecture: Vincent Sherry

Guest lecture: Vincent Sherry

Bare Death: The Failing Sacrifice of the Great War

Professor Vincent Sherry (Washington University in St. Louis)

Tuesday March 22nd, 5pm

NYU English Department, 244 Greene St, Event Space

Professor Vincent Sherry has written acclaimed work on topics including modernism, decadence and the first world war. His books include Modernism and the Reinvention of Decadence (Cambridge 2014), The Great War and the Language of Modernism (Oxford 2003) and Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis and Radical Modernism (Oxford 1993). Now, on March 22nd, he is coming to NYU to give a guest lecture entitled ‘Bare Death: The Failing Sacrifice of the Great War.’ After the lecture there will be time for questions and a drinks reception.

The event is free, and there is no need to RSVP. if you have any questions, please contact

For more on Professor Sherry’s biography click here.

Co-Sponsored by the Modern and Contemporary Colloquium

NYU Cultures of War and the Post-War Research Collaborative


Henri Bergson Reading Group

Henri Bergson Reading Group

This April, the Modern and Contemporary Colloquium will be hosting a reading group mini-series on Henri Bergson for M.A. and Ph.D. students in the English and Comparative Literature departments at NYU and other New York colleges. Bergson’s 1889 Time and Free Will (originally titled Essai sur les données immediates de la conscience)in which Bergson explains the theory of duration (la dureé), was an important work for the philosophy of time and consciousness, for literary modernism, and for twentieth century continental philosophy.

Whatever you work on, getting to grips with Bergson’s Time and Free Will could be advantageous. We will be reading a modern English translation. Here are the exact details:

The book is divided into three sections; correspondingly, the reading group will meet three times. The meetings will take place on April 6th, 13th, 20th at 5.30-7.30 in 194 Mercer Street, Room 205. There will be a fourth session on April 27th: this final event will be an opportunity to discuss the text, and how it might inform our work, not in a seminar but in the more casual setting of a wine reception. This last will take place in the NYU Department of English Event Space (244 Greene St, Room 102) at 5.30pm.

Click here to RSVP.

November 15: Rhetoric & Modernism Workshop


“Modernism & Rhetoric”: A Workshop, Featuring MDRN (Leuven)
Friday, November 15, 9:30am – 5pm
244 Greene St. – “The Event Space”

Literary history has traditionally characterized Modernism as an anti-rhetorical enterprise. Wishing to install a clear dividing line between rhetoric and literature, and to exclude rhetorical forms of expression from their literary language, prominent modernist writers allegedly moved from a sociolect to an idiolect.

The Modern & Contemporary Colloquium is excited to host a workshop that will pressure these suppositions through a series of talks from Sascha Bru & Anke Gilleir (Leuven), Matthias Somers (Leuven), John Guillory (NYU), Ken Hirschkop (U of Waterloo), and Peter Nicholls & Richard Sieburth (NYU). Please see the program below for full details.

This workshop seeks to spur collaborative, radial approaches to insistent problematics. Vocal participation will be appreciated.

MDRN (Leuven) and New York University
Contact email: Peter Nicholls,

Recommended readings:

Richard Sieburth, “The Sound of Pound”

Peter Nicholls, “Modernism and the Limits of Lyric”



Sascha Bru teaches literary theory at the University of Leuven, where he also co-directs MDRN, a large-scale research group that focuses on European modernist and avant-garde writing (see: Bru has published widely on theory, modernism and avant-garde writing. He is the author of Democracy, Law and the Modernist Avant-Gardes. Writing in the State of Exception (2009) and the forthcoming The European Avant-Gardes, 1905-1935. A Portable Guide. Books he (co-)edited include The Oxford Cultural and Critical History of Modernist Magazines, Vol III: Europe (2013), The Aesthetics of Matter: Modernism, the Avant-Garde and Material Exchange (2013), Wittgenstein Reading (2013), Regarding the Popular: Modernism, the Avant-Garde and Popular Culture (2011), and Europa! Europa? The Avant-Garde, Modernism and the Fate of a Continent (2009). Bru is also editor of the book series European Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (Berlin: Mouton/de Gruyter) and Avant-Garde: Critical Studies (Amsterdam: Rodopi).


Anke Gilleir studied German and English at the University of Leuven and Trinity College Dublin. She was research fellow at the Humboldt University in Berlin and is currently associate professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Leuven (Belgium). She has published widely on modern German women’s literature from the Enlightenment to late modernism, on gender and subjectivity, and on literature, politics and aesthetics. Recent publications include: Women Writing Back/Writing Women Back. Transnational Persectives from the late Middle Ages to the Dawn of the Modern Era (2010, with Alicia Montoya  and Suzan van Dijk); Textmaschinenkörper. Genderorientierte Lektüren des Androiden (2006, with Eva Kormann and Angelika Schlimmer). With Barbara Hahn she has edited a volume on the work of the modernist German-Jewish author and philosopher Margarete Suman: Grenzgänge zwischen Dichtung, Philosophie und Kulturkritik. Über Margarete Susman (2012). She is currently working on a book entitled Schmerz und Lust. Weibliche Avantgarde in Deutschland (Pain and Lust. The Women Avant-Garde in Germany).

Matthias Somers holds MA degrees in English and Greek Literature and Literary Studies, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Leuven, preparing a doctoral dissertation on modernist literature and rhetorical theories and practices in the early 20th century. He is a member of the Leuven-based research group MDRN, and co-authored a chapter on Robert Musil and public speaking in the collectively written Modern Times. Literary Change (2013).


John Guillory is Silver Professor and Professor of English at New York University. His research interests are in Renaissance poetry and prose; Shakespeare; Milton; literature and science in the Renaissance; the history of rhetoric; the history of criticism; the sociology of literary study; twentieth-century literary theory. His publications include Poetic Authority: Spenser, Milton and Literary History (Columbia Univ. Press, 1983), Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993),  What’s Left of Theory? New Work on the Politics of Theory, co-ed. with Judith Butler and Kendall Thomas (Routledge, 2000).


Ken Hirschkop is Associate Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, where he teaches on both the English Literature and Rhetoric programs.  He is the author of Mikhail Bakhtin:  An Aesthetic for Democracy (OUP, 1999), co-author of Benjamin’s Arcades:  an unGuided tour (MUP, 2005), and writes on twentieth-century cultural politics and the philosophy of language.  He is currently completing Linguistic Turns, 1890-1950:  Writing on Language as Social Theory.


In addition to his various translations from the French and German, in the field of Pound studies, Richard Sieburth has published Instigations: Ezra Pound and Remy de Gourmont, Signs into Action: Pound/Michaux, as well as editions (for New Directions) of Pound’s Walking Tour in Southern France, The Pisan Cantos, New Selected Poems and Translations, and (for The Library of America) of Pound’s Poems & Translations.   He is currently preparing an edition (for New Directions) of Pound’s Late Venice Notebooks. He teaches French and Comparative Literature at NYU.


Peter Nicholls is Henry James Professor and Professor of English at New York University. His publications include Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing (Humanities Press, 1985), Modernisms: A Literary Guide (2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism (OUP, 2007), and many articles and essays on literature and theory. He has recently co-edited The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (CUP, 2004), On Bathos (Continuum, 2010) and Thinking Poetry (Routledge, 2013). He is currently US associate editor of Textual Practice.

Full Program

9.30 Coffee

10.00-10.45 Sascha Bru & Anke Gilleir, “Brecht  and the Verfremdung of Speech”

10.45-11.15 Q & A

11.15-11.45 Matthias Somers, “Educating Writers and Their Readers: Academic Rhetoric in the Age of Modernism”

11.45-12.15 Q & A

12.15-1.00 Lunch (First Floor)

1.00-1.30 John Guillory, “Marshall McLuhan, Rhetoric, and the Emergence of Media Studies”

1.30-2.00 Q & A

2.00-2.30 Ken Hirschkop, “Rhetoric, Magic, Myth, and the Revolution”

2.30-3.00 Q & A

3.00-4.00 Peter Nicholls & Richard Sieburth, “Ezra Pound and the Rhetoric of Address”

4.00-4.30 Q & A

4.30-6.00 Drinks Reception

Friday April 15, Talk by Dr. Paul Crosthwaite: “‘Like a Flood or an Earthquake’: Trauma and the Representation of Financial Crises.”

Trauma. War. Financial Crisis. Collapse.

Dr. Paul Crosthwaite of Cardiff University

“‘Like a Flood or an Earthquake’: Trauma and the Representation of Financial Crises.”

Friday April 15, 3-5pm

Room 222 of 19 University Place

NYU Modern Colloquium presents: A lecture by Professor Paul Crosthwaite of Cardiff University: “‘Like a Flood or an Earthquake’: Trauma and the Representation of Financial Crises.”

Dr. Paul Crosthwaite teaches at the School of English Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. He is the author of Trauma, Postmodernism, and the Aftermath of World War II (2009) and editor of Criticism, Crisis, and Contemporary Narrative: Textual Horizons in an Age of Global Risk (2010). His forthcoming work includes a chapter entitled “Clockwork Automata, Artificial Intelligence, and Why the Body of the Author Matters,” in Minds, Bodies, Machines, 1790-1920 (Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture), ed. by Deirdre Coleman and Hilary Fraser (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2011).

Wine, cheese, and apocalypse preparedness kits provided.

Friday, April 8 from 3-5pm: “Reading Pound’s ‘Drafts & Fragments'”

Reading Ezra Pound’s “Drafts & Fragments”

A Discussion between NYU Professor of English, Peter Nicholls, and NYU Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Richard Sieburth

Friday, April 8 from 3-5pm

Room 222 at 19 University Place

Professor Sieburth is author, editor, and translator of numerous books on literary modernisms. His work on Ezra Pound includes: Ezra Pound: New Selected Poems & Translations (2010), as editor; A Walking Tour in Southern France: Ezra Pound Among the Troubadours (1992), as editor; Signs in Action: Ideograms of Pound and Michaux (1987); and Instigations: Ezra Pound and Remy de Gourmont (1978).

Professor Nicholls is the author of Modernisms: A Literary Guide (2009); George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism (2007); The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (2005), as editor; andEzra Pound: Politics, Economics, and Writing: A Study of The Cantos (1984).

Please join us for an expansive discussion on the facsimile edition of Ezra Pound’s Drafts and Fragments Notebooks 1958-1959 recently published by Glenn Horowitz bookseller.

Recommended readings in advance of the seminar:

Ezra Pound’s “Drafts and Fragments” from The Cantos
Richard Sieburth’s “In Pound We Trust”
Peter Nicholl’s “2 doits to a boodle: reckoning with ‘Thrones'”

Wine and cheese provided!

Friday, February 25, 3-5pm. Lecture by Richard Godden: “Bret Easton Ellis: Fictions of Fictitious Capital.”

Friday, February 25, 3-5pm. Lecture by Richard Godden: “Bret Easton Ellis: Fictions of Fictitious Capital.”

Friday, February 25, 3-5pm

  • Lecture by Richard Godden: “Bret Easton Ellis: Fictions of Fictitious Capital.” Richard Godden, Professor of English at UC Irvine, is the author of William Faulkner: An Economy of Complex Words (2007); Fictions of Labor: William Faulkner and the South’s Long Revolution (1997); and Fictions of Capital: The American Novel from James to Mailer (1990).
  • Suggested reading for Richard Godden’s talk includes the opening section of Lunar Park, called “Beginnings,” and this short selection: Lunar Park.