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.


White Invasions: Conrad, Nabokov and the Imperial Open Society

White Invasions: Conrad, Nabokov and the Imperial Open Society

Join us Wednesday at NYU for a talk by Jed Esty, department of English, University of Pennsylvania
“White Invasions: Conrad, Nabokov and the Imperial Open Society.”

Wednesday, April 16th, 5.00-7.00pm

Event Space, 244 Greene St (Rm 106)

Jed Esty is the author of Unseasonable Youth: Modernism, Colonialism, and the Fiction of Development (Oxford 2012) and A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England (Princeton 2004).  With Joe Cleary and Colleen Lye, he is coeditor of a 2012 special issue of MLQon the topic of realism in postcolonial and ethnic US literatures; with Ania Loomba, Suvir Kaul, Antoinette Burton, and Matti Bunzl, he coedited Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (Duke 2005).  Esty has published essays in Modern Fiction Studies, Victorian Studies, Modernism/Modernity, ELH, ALH, Contemporary Literature, Narrative, Novel, and the Yale Journal of Criticism.  He is currently at work on a new project entitled Ages of Innocence:  Culture and Literature from Pax Britannica to the American Century.

co-sponsored by the
Modern and Contemporary Colloquium and Postcolonial Seminar, NYU

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,  pn18@nyu.edu

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: http://www.mdrn.be). 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

4/25: Jean-Michel Rabaté “Modernism and Theory” & Peter Boxall “Focusing the Present”

The Modern and Contemporary Colloquium presents:

Thursday April 25th
19 University Place, Room 222, 2.00-4.00

“Modernism and Theory”
Jean-Michel Rabaté is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania. His recent books include: 1913 The Cradle of Modernism; The Future of Theory; The Ghosts of Modernity

“Focusing the Present”

Peter Boxall is a Professor of English at the University of Sussex, UK. His recent books include Don DeLillo: The Possibility of Fiction; Since Beckett; Contemporary Writing in the Wake of Modernism

This event is free and open to the public. All welcome.


Harpsichords, Hipsters, and Other Ecstatic Topics: A Dialogue About Ginsberg

Monday, February 4, 6:30 pm
Silver Center, Room 300 (enter at 32 Waverly Place)

Featuring Ulrich Baer and Shelley Rice, this “gabfest” will be a free-ranging discussion about poetry, photography, music, spirituality, and friendship among NYU professors whose wide-ranging interests include visual media, literature, psychic phenomena, scholarship, and Kung Fu.

Co-sponsored by NYU’s Departments of Art History, Creative Writing, English, Photography & Imaging (TSOA), and Social & Cultural Analysis; Humanities Initiative; Fine Arts Society (a student organization); and Grey Art Gallery.

Free of charge, no reservations, capacity limited.
All programs subject to change.

Offered in conjunction with the exhibition Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg, on view at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery
from January 15 to April 6, 2013.

Beat Memories presents an in-depth look at the Beat generation as seen through the lens of Allen Ginsberg. Well known for his poetry, he was also an avid photographer who captured the people and places around him in spontaneous, often intimate snapshots. The exhibition features 94 black-and-white photographs, including portraits of figures such as William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac, along with self-portraits. The images not only are revealing portrayals of celebrated personalities, but also convey the unique lifestyle and spirit that characterized what came to be known as the Beat Generation. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Beat Memories is curated by Sarah Greenough and accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

For more information on the exhibition, including a complete program roster, please visit http://www.nyu.edu/greyart.
Email: greyartgallery@nyu.edu
Tel: 212/998-6780
Grey Art Gallery Hours:
Tuesday/Thursday/Friday: 11 am–6 pm
OPEN LATE Wednesday: 11 am–8 pm
Saturday: 11 am–5 pm
Closed Sunday/Monday/Major holidays.

NEW DATE! Bruce Andrews: A Symposium & Reading Rescheduled for Dec. 7

Details below and at http://fordhamenglish.squarespace.com/bruce-andrews


Friday, December 7, 2012
6:00 – 9:00 PM

South Lounge, Lincoln Center Campus
113 W. 60th Street
New York, NY  10023

A panel and reading in honor of poet and Fordham faculty member Bruce Andrews, a leading figure in avant-garde writing and performance since the 1970s. The author of over thirty volumes of poetry, Andrews has taught political science at Fordham since 1975. As co-founder of the ground-breaking journal L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, Andrews was among a small group of writers who instigated what is arguably the biggest shift in American poetry in the last generation. First, a panel of prominent scholars will present papers on Andrews’ work, moderated by poet-critic Charles Bernstein. After a brief break and reception, Andrews will read from his work.


Poet, essayist, and theorist, Charles Bernstein is a formative member and leading practitioner of Language writing. Between 1978-1981, with Bruce Andrews, he published L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine, which became a forum for writing that blurred the boundary between poetry and critical writing about poetry. Bernstein has published dozens of books, including poetry and essay collections, translations, and libretti. His poetry has been widely anthologized and translated, and it has appeared in over 500 magazines and periodicals.
 From 1990 to 2003, he was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Director of the Poetics Program, which he co-founded with Robert Creeley. He is co-founder and co-editor of Penn Sound, an extensive archive of recorded poetry.
Bernstein is currently Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University Pennsylvania. In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Michael Golston is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He specializes in 20th-century poetry and poetics and modern cultural history. He is especially interested in avant-garde and experimental writing, and has published articles and reviews in American Literary HistoryPaideumaTextual Practice, and Modernism/Modernity. He also has essays in two collections: American Modernism Across the Arts and New Definitions of Lyric: Theory, Technology, and Culture. His first book, Rhythm and Race in Modernist Poetry and Science (Columbia University Press), won the Louis Martz Prize for 2007. He is currently working on a book about allegory, surrealism, and postmodern poetic form.

Laura Hinton is the author of The Perverse Gaze of Sympathy: Sadomasochistic Sentiments from Clarissa to Rescue 911 (SUNY Press), as well as a poetry book, Sisyphus My Love (To Record a Dream in a Bathtub) (BlazeVox). She is also the co-editor (with Cynthia Hogue) of We Who Love to Be Astonished: Experimental Women’s Writing and Performance Poetics (University of Alabama Press). Her critical essays, poet interviews, reviews as well as poetry have appeared in Contemporary Literature, Feminist Studies, Postmodern Culture, Textual PracticeWomen’s StudiesJacketThe Journal of the Academy of American Poets, How2, and others. She is Professor of English at the City College of New York.

Peter Nicholls is Professor of English at New York University. He has published widely on twentieth-century writing, with recent works including Modernisms: A Literary Guide (2nd ed. 2008) and George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism (2009). He is especially interested in connections between American and European poetry, and in the political and economic dimensions of literary texts. His many books also include Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing, the co-edited volumes Ruskin and Modernism (2001), Europa! Europa? The Avant-Garde, Modernism and the Fate of the Continent (2009) and On Bathos: Literature, Art, Music (2010), as well as many articles and essays on literature and theory. He co-edited with Laura Marcus The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature and is currently U.S. editor of the journal Textual Practice.

Poet, critic, and translator Bob Perelman is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including a.k.a. (1979), Ten to One: Selected Poems (1999), and IFLIFE (2006). He collaborated with his wife, the painter Francie Shaw, on Playing Bodies (2004). Perelman has also published the critical studies The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukofsky (1994) and The Marginalization of Poetry (1996). His translations appear in The Selected Poems of Tomaz Salamun (1988) and Modern Archaist: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam (2008). Perelman edited two anthologies of speeches by poets: Talks (Hills 6/7) (1980) and Writing/Talks (1985). His own work has been featured in numerous anthologies, including Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (1994), Onward: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (1996), and several editions of Best American Poetry. Perelman teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Stephens earned a PhD in English from Columbia University and currently teaches at Bard College. He has essays in numerous periodicals and edited collections, including Don’t Ever Get Famous: New York Writers After the New York School (edited by Daniel Kane (U of Illinois P), FulcrumSocial Text, Rethinking Marxism, Open Letter, and Postmodern Culture. He has also presented collaborative writing and photomontage with Robert Weston at the Guggenheim Museum. For the 2009-2010 academic year, he was selected for a junior faculty fellowship in poetics at Emory University. He is currently completing two book manuscripts: The Rhetoric of Literary Experiment and Minima Temporalia: Reflections from Diminishing Time.