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Shannon Lecture #4: “Historical Biography and the Larger Context: The global outlook of Joseph Conrad.”

November 15, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Location:2017 Dunton Tower

Room 2017 in Dunton Tower starting at 1:00pm followed by a reception at 2:30pm.


Prof. Jasanoff will draw on her recent work on Joseph Conrad to discuss the challenges and opportunities of using life stories in writing global history. Literary scholars have long recognized the particular relevance of Conrad’s life story to his writing. Before he became a novelist, Conrad spent twenty years as a professional sailor, traveling to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. These journeys inspired the settings and characters of many of his later works of fiction. Jasanoff will argue that, while historical research can flesh out a picture of Conrad’s life and the sources of his fiction, his life story can in turn enrich an understanding of his times as an age of globalization.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Jasanoff is Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University, and winner of the 2018 Cundill Prize for The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World. A former Guggenheim Fellow, her research and teaching range from the history of the British Empire to global history and the craft of historical narrative. Her essays and reviews appear frequently in publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The New York Review of Books.