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Event Details

Humanities in the Village: Andrew Miller, On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives (in conversation with William Egginton)

The Ivy Bookshop and Bird in Hand present the latest installment of Humanities in the Village featuring Andrew Miller, author, most recently, of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. Andrew will be in conversation with professor and author William Egginton. This event will take place on Zoom.

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A captivating book about the emotional and literary power of the lives we might have lived had our chances or choices been different.

In some moods, the lives we’re not leading matter as much to us as the life we are.  Looking back at our past we see roads untaken and chances forsaken, paths down which possible futures once seemed to beckon.  In this elegant, evocative, and absorbing book, Andrew Miller reveals the beauty and power of our unled lives, and their often haunting presence in one life we do lead and in the fiction and poetry we read. Drawing on recent work by psychologists and philosophers, he shows how the great stories of our adulthood—stories of marriage and career, of parenting and the death of loved ones—reveal who we are by revealing who we are not.  At a moment when literature can seem a luxury, this meditative book demonstrates the rewards of patient attention to it.  His discussions of Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens, of Sharon Olds, Jane Hirshfield, and Ian McEwan are always engaging and often elating.  This is a book to think with, a companion in the life do you live. 

Andrew H. Miller is Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University.  He was long-time editor of the journal Victorian Studies and a founder of the North American Victorian Studies Association. Professor Miller specializes in nineteenth century British literature and, more generally, in the relation of literature to moral philosophy.  His publications include The Burdens of Perfection:  On Ethics and Reading in Nineteenth Century Literature   (Cornell University Press, 2008) and Novels Behind Glass:  Commodity Culture and Victorian Narrative (Cambridge University Press, 1995). He has been a Fellow at Oxford University (Pembroke College) and Birkbeck (University of London), and the recipient of fellowships from the National Humanities Center and the ACLS.  His most recent book, On Not Being Someone Else: Stories of our Unled Lives, is now available from Harvard University Press.

William Egginton is the Decker Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute. His research and teaching focus on Spanish and Latin American literature, literary theory, and the relation between literature and philosophy. Professor Egginton is the author of numerous books, including How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher’s Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), In Defense of Religious Moderation (Columbia UP, 2011), The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World (Bloomsbury, 2016), and, with David Castillo, Medialogies: Reading Reality in the Age of Inflationary Media (Bloomsbury, 2017). He is also the co-editor, with Mike Sandbothe, of The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy (2004) and, with David E. Johnson, of Thinking With Borges (2009), as well as the translator of Lisa Block de Behar’s Borges, the Passion of an Endless Quotation (2003).






Event Details

Monday, August 31, 2020 - 6:30pm



by Dr. Radut