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The Trilling Seminar: Lydia Davis

The Lionel Trilling Seminar

dateMarch 13, 2019 timeWednesday, 6:15pm EDT location Lenfast Center for the Arts, The Lantern, Columbia University
  • Columbia School of the Arts
  • Registration required. See details.
  • Free and open to the public
  • First come, first seated
Headshot of Lydia Davis

Lionel Trilling (1905-75), one of Columbia's most celebrated faculty members, was among the great humanist scholars and public intellectuals of the 20th century. In his memory, the Heyman Center sponsors a series of intellectual conversations, known as the Lionel Trilling Seminars.

Click here to listen to the event.

Lydia Davis is a short story writer, novelist, essayist, and translator. She is the author of six collections of short stories, including Can’t and Won’t (2014) and The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis (2009), and one novel, The End of the Story (1995). Her collection Varieties of Disturbance (2007) was nominated for the National Book Award. Davis is best known for her very short, micro- or “flash” fiction; many of her stories are a single sentence or paragraph long. She has translated novels and works of philosophy from French, including Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (2010) and Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way (2003). A first collection of her essays, titled ESSAYS ONE, will be appearing this fall. Her honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, as well as the Man Booker International Prize. She is Professor Emeritus of SUNY Albany


Elisabeth Ladenson is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and General Editor of Romanic Review. She studied at Paris VII (DEUG, 1981) and the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., 1984) before going on to graduate work at Columbia (M.A. 1988, M.Phil., 1992, Ph.D., 1994). She taught at the University of Virginia from 1992 to 2005. At UVA, she directed the Comparative Literature program from 1998-2004. She has also held visiting appointments at Rice University and the University of California, Berkeley. Her main teaching and research interests are in 19th- and 20th-century French and comparative literature; gender studies; cultural history and historiography. Her book Proust's Lesbianism (Cornell UP, 1999) has been translated into French as Proust lesbien (Epel, trans. Guy le Gaufey, 2004) and into Spanish as Lesbianismo en Proust (Me Cayó el Veinte, trans. Martín Pérez, 2010). She has also edited a special issue of GLQ on "Men and Lesbianism" (2001), and published essays on a wide range of subjects in journals including Yale French Studies, The Yale Review, and The London Review of Books. Her book Dirt for Art's Sake: Books on Trial from Lolita to Madame Bovary was published by Cornell in 2007. She is currently writing a book about Colette.

Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University, specializes in modern Greece, 20th-century Europe, and international history. His current interests include the history of Greek independence, and the historical evolution of the Greek islands in the very long run. He comments on international affairs for the Financial Times and reviews books for the Financial Times, the Nation, the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books and others. In 2016 he made a film Techniques of the Body, a meditation on the refugee crisis in the long run of Greek history, with director Constantine Giannaris and he is currently exploring the theme of the unburied dead with theater director Theodoros Terzopoulos. His most recent book is What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home (Other Press, 2017), a family history. He is founding director of the Institute for Ideas and Imagination, which opened at Reid Hall in Paris in fall 2018 with an inaugural fellowship class of sixteen faculty and creative artists.

Introduction by Sean Quimby, Director, Rare Book & Manuscript Library