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Cancelled - The Written World: A Conversation with Martin Puchner

With Martin Eisner, Katharine Brophy Dubois & Helen Shears
October 11th, 2018
12:00 PM

Martin Puchner, The Written World


Thursday, October 11, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


Forum for Scholars and Publics
Old Chem 011
Duke's West Campus Quad
Map & Directions

In this groundbreaking book, Martin Puchner tells the story of literature in sixteen acts — from Homer to Harry Potter, including The Tale of Genji, Don Quixote, and The Communist Manifesto, and how they shaped world history.

Puchner's book leads us on a remarkable journey through time and around the globe to reveal the how stories and literature have created the world we have today. Through sixteen foundational texts selected from more than four thousand years of world literature, he shows us how writing has inspired the rise and fall of empires and nations, the spark of philosophical and political ideas, and the birth of religious beliefs. This delightful narrative also chronicles the inventions — writing technologies, the printing press, the book itself — that have shaped people, commerce, and history. In a book that Elaine Scarry has praised as "unique and spellbinding," Puchner shows how literature turned our planet into a written world.

In this lunchtime conversation, Martin Eisner, Katharine Brophy Dubois, and Helen Shears will join Martin Puchner to discuss his work as well as the process of writing for a broader public.

Free and open to the public. Light lunch served.


Sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Humanities Futures initiative @ the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Martin Puchner

Harvard University

Martin Puchner is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. His prize-winning books range from philosophy to the arts, and his bestselling six-volume Norton Anthology of World Literature and HarvardX MOOC (massive open online course) ...

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Katharine Brophy Dubois

A USA Today bestselling novelist of nineteen historical romances as Katharine Ashe, Katharine Brophy Dubois teaches part-time at Duke University. Her courses explore ...

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Martin Eisner

Duke University

Martin Eisner is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at Duke University. He specializes in medieval Italian literature, particularly the works of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, as well as the history of the book and media. He is the author of Boccaccio and the ...

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Helen Shears

Helen Shears is a graduate student in the History Department at Duke University. She studies imperial expansion in the early modern period through the lens of diplomacy and law. In addition to her research, she also enjoys creative writing and thinking about the relationship ...

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