Investigative Reporter of the Spirit: The Search for Five Women
Presented by Jeffrey Meyers
Renowned biographer Professor Jeffrey Meyers delivered the eighth annual Seymour Biography Lecture – on the craft of biography, autobiography, and memoir. In his work on Joseph Conrad, Wyndham Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Robert Frost, Meyers was fascinated to learn that each of these married writers had an intriguing, but elusive, lover. He found that these mysterious lovers assume an independent existence and had extraordinary lives worthy of a full-length study. In this lecture, Meyers reveals what happens when minor characters take on lives of their own.
Jeffrey Meyers – one of twelve Americans who are Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature – is one of the most respected scholars in his field. He has published fifty books and 800 articles on modern American, English, and European literature, has edited two collections of essays on biography and has lectured at numerous universities across the world. His interests include bibliography, editing, literary criticism, art history, and film. Based in Berkeley, California, Meyers is the author of several works on T. E. Lawrence and George Orwell and has written about the lives of Katherine Mansfield, Robert Lowell, D.H. Lawrence, Edgar Allan Poe, Edmund Wilson, Humphrey Bogart, Errol and Sean Flynn, Somerset Maugham, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Samuel Johnson, and John Huston.
Jeffrey Meyers delivered the lecture at Australian Book Review on 17 September 2012.
Seymour Biography Lecture 2012, recorded at the National Library of Australia on 13 September 2012.
Supported by John and Heather Seymour, Australian Book Review, the State Library of New South Wales, and the National Library of Australia.
The Seymour Biography Lecture was also presented in Canberra and Sydney at the National Library of Australia and the State Library of New South Wales respectively.
Tuesday, 31 March (6 pm), Assembly Hall (Boyd)
What’s your favourite television drama series? Deadwood? Mad Men? True Detective? Perhaps you remember earlier masterpieces such as Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) and The Jewel in the Crown (1984). In our Film and Television issue next month, a group of noted film and television professionals and commentators will nominate their favourite drama series. Another highlight will be James McNamara’s long article on the age of HBO (James is our current ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow).
Thursday, 14 May (6 pm), Theatre, National Library of Australia (ACT)
Ray Mathew Lecture, delivered by Andrea Goldsmith: 'Private Passions, Public Exposure'
Andrea Goldsmith has chosen the mysterious workings of the imagination as her subject for the 2015 Ray Mathew lecture, presented by the National Library of Australia. She has long been fascinated by the strange alchemy whereby the private and ephemeral meanderings of a freely-ranging, borderless mind transmogrify into tangible, observable behaviours - whether it be a decision to marry or move house, or an artwork such as a novel or a painting.
In her lecture, she shows how an imagination fuelled by reading can help a child through the bewildering thicket of childhood; how music can provide solace and respite from grief over the death of a beloved; how mental travelling can remove a person from a life grown too hard and lead to a new novel about memory. She takes a walk across the vast landscape of Kilauea, the longest continually active volcano on the face of the earth, a landscape that might well be a 3D version of the imagination. She explores how Brueghel's painting, The Fall of Icarus, inspired Auden's great poem, 'Musée des Beaux Arts', and how this poem in turn shaped a novel of her own.
She believes that if the imagination is to range freely, in addition to solitude, privacy and contemplation, the demanding, look-at-me, like-me, connect-with-me self needs to be muted. She suggests that the self - promoting it, modifying it, pleasing it, sharing it - has become the paramount creative project in the modern world.
Andrea Goldsmith embraces the digital world but she also thrives on the imagination's power. In her lecture, 'Private Passions and Public Exposures', she reveals that if mindful and selective of what each of these two powerful human spheres can provide, we can have the best of both worlds.
Wednesday, August 5 (6 pm), Assembly Hall, Boyd
Andrea Goldsmith presents her Ray Mathew lecture 'Private Passions and Public Exposures' in Melbourne at Boyd.
Proust and Montaigne – Writing the Self, May 15 at 6.p.m
Please note this event is now booked out.