About the event

Eminent Literary and Critical Theorist Stephen Greenblatt, author of the bestselling Shakespeare biography Will in the World, discusses his forthcoming book, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, about “the most influential and successful story ever written.” One of the founders of New Historicism, an approach to criticism focused on literature’s historical context, Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. His many influential books include The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He gives the keynote talk of the Fictions of History conference. This lecture is the fifth installment of the “Critical Theory Today” lecture series and is the keynote talk of the “Fictions of History” conference.

Getting Real: The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

The three great monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all trace the origin of humankind to a single identifiable male and female. Their story, probably dating from early in the first millennium BCE and told in the book of Genesis, is one of the most important imaginative inventions in recorded history. My lecture attempts to account for this invention’s remarkable success, to describe the great collective project of making the first humans real, and to analyze the story’s gradual loss of credibility.

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For more information about this conference, visit the official conference website here.

Co-sponsors: Critical Theory Certificate Program, Writers’ Institute, Center for the Humanities, Doctoral Students’ Council, Advanced Research Collaborative, and Constance Old, in memory of her brother Lloyd Old.