Fall 2016 Talks: Vicki Mahaffey and Lisa Goldfarb

Two upcoming talks on 11/11 and 11/18, reception to follow

The CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th St.), room 4406

Friday, November 11th, 4 pm, room 4406

Vicki Mahaffey, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – “Adultery and the Everyday: Flaubert and Joyce”

In nineteenth-century European literature, adultery (when committed by a woman) was depicted as a deadly enemy of the domestic and the everyday. Such a view is vividly apparent in Paul de Kock’s Le Cocu (1832), a copy of which Joyce owned. The conflict between adultery and the everyday is personified in the tragic relation between Emma and Charles in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Flaubert, however, suggests that Emma’s adultery paradoxically stems from her purity, a purity stoked by the romanticism of religion and novels. In Ulysses, Joyce reconciles adultery with the everyday by connecting the process of adulteration with adulthood. Ultimately, he transfers the site of adulteration from individual adult people to the word. Language reconciles the tension between adulteration and the everyday. Deployed as an “everyday poetics,” language inspires a different model of time, one that can accommodate anachronism. The splitting of the word coincides with a fissuring of the moment, interrupting and scrambling the relentless sequencing of past, present, and future.

Vicki Mahaffey is Kirkpatrick Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign. She is the author of Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions?; States of Desire: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and the Irish Experiment; and Reauthorizing Joyce; as well as the editor of Collaborative Dubliners: Joyce in Dialogue. She has authored many articles on Joyce, as well as articles on W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, and Henrik Ibsen, among others. Her current book project, The Joyce of Everyday Life, is an effort to demonstrate how language can be “played” almost orchestrally if we pay attention to both the history of words and to their associative linkages with other words.

Friday, Nov 18th, 4pm, room 4406

Lisa Goldfarb, NYU Gallatin –  “Three Voices of Modern Musical Poetry: Stevens, Eliot, Valéry”

Opposite as their philosophical aims may be, and however distant he may declare himself from Eliot’s poetic practice, Stevens nevertheless praises Eliot for his modern musicality. Both poets theorize and practice a musical poetic that shares many features. Stevens and Eliot, too, have great admiration for symbolist poetics, and, in particular, for Paul Valéry, who carved a musical aesthetic for modern poetry. This presentation will engage the musical poetics of all three poets, drawing together poetic voices which are not often seen in relation to one another.

Lisa Goldfarb is Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of New York University, President of The Wallace Stevens Society, and Associate Editor of The Wallace Stevens Journal. She is the author of The Figure Concealed: Wallace Stevens, Music, and Valéryan Echoes, co-editor of Wallace Stevens, New York, and Modernism, Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens (forthcoming), and two special issues of The Wallace Stevens Journal. Her current book project explores the resonance of Valéryan poetics in Anglo-American poetry.

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