Monday, February 4, 2019
However the story ends, most literary works dwell on chaos, crisis, confusion, disruption, and change. Utopian literary works evoke the alternative—the possibility of stability, equity, and balance provided by a rational social order. Utopia is an image of secular happiness. What does it say that our imagination prefers visions of chaos to dreams of order, and that the most compelling visions of utopia turn out to be nightmares? John Farrell, the Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, will pose this question with reference to Thomas More’s Utopia, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
John Farrell grew up in Cranston, R.I., and attended Brown University and Harvard, where he wrote a doctoral dissertation on the early novels of the American author Thomas Pynchon. He is a specialist in literary theory and the author of three books on the subject, “Freud’s Paranoid Quest: Psychoanalysis and Modern Suspicion” (1996), “Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau” (2006), and, most recently, “The Varieties of Authorial Intention: Literary Theory Beyond the Intentional Fallacy” (2017). As the titles of these books suggest, Farrell is a critic of the dominant theoretical trends in literary study in the American academy since the 1970s; much of his work has been devoted to uncovering the historical origins of these trends as well as explaining their weakness and drawbacks.
Farrell has been teaching in the department of Literature at CMC since 1990, where he offers such courses as Literary Theory from Plato to the Present, Love Poetry of the English Renaissance, European Modernist Fiction, The Novel Since World War Two, News from the Delphic Oracle: Introduction to Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, and Utopia/Dystopia. He is currently chairing the CMC Committee on Writing as it directs the new Summer Book Program for First Year Students.
Professor Farrell's Athenaeum presentation celebrates his installation ceremony as the Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Literature at CMC.
Erick Erickson, editor of The Resurgent and conservative commentator, will explore how people of faith navigate the waters of American politics that increasingly call on those of faith to make sacrifices and to compromise their beliefs to advance a political agenda.
Noted a one of the most influential conservatives in America, Erick Erickson is the editor of The Resurgent, a Fox News contributor, and host of his own radio program on the nation's most listened to news/talk station, WSB Radio out of Atlanta. Erickson is also working on his Master of Divinity Degree at Reformed Theology Seminary. He is frequently read and cited by leaders of both political parties.
In his latest book, “Before You Wake”, Erickson leaves politics behind and addresses his near-death experience during the height of the 2016 campaign season. Writing letters to his children, he focuses on what they and others should know about faith, family, and friendship, in addition to all his family's favorite recipes. Erickson regularly travels the world speaking on American politics, faith issues, and the intersection of faith and politics in America today. In addition to speaking, Erickson occasionally preaches drawing on his seminary education. Erickson is also the author of “You Will Be Made to Care,” a book about "rising Christian persecution" in America.
For six years, Erickson practiced law focused on corporate transactions and estates, with side focuses in both election law and indigent criminal defense. For three years Erickson was a political commentator for CNN and was editor of RedState.com for more than a decade prior to starting The Resurgent.