Harvard Scholar, Author to Speak on Gilgamesh

Harvard University’s David Damrosch, the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Department of Comparative Literature, will discuss contemporary transformations of Gilgamesh and other classic heroes in visual art, at Ursinus College Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in Berman 016. The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Annenberg Learner and the Berman Museum of Art.

David Damrosch

David Damrosch

His lecture topic is: “The End of the Book? Gilgamesh in the Internet Age.” Damrosch, the author of The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh, is speaking in conjunction with the Berman Museum of Art’s current Main Gallery exhibition “‘Make a statue of my friend’: Presenting Enkidu, Re-presenting the Gilgamesh Epic – Sculpture by Joe Mooney.”

Dr. Damrosch will address contemporary transformations of Gilgamesh and other classic heroes in visual art — including internet-based forms – as a means of investigating the enduring value of classic works today, both in new forms and in the original forms to which we keep returning.

The Buried Book begins with the rediscovery of the epic and its deciphering in 1872 by George Smith, who discovered Gilgamesh among the thousands of tablets in the British Museum’s collection.

Damrosch studied a wide range of ancient and modern languages and literatures as an undergraduate and doctoral student at Yale University, and taught for three decades at Columbia University before moving in 2009 to Harvard. A past president of the American Comparative Literature Association, he has written widely on comparative and world literature, and his work has been translated into Chinese, Estonian, Hungarian, Turkish, and Vietnamese, among other languages.

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, known for its diverse collection and innovative educational programming, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and  noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays and college holidays.  The Museum is accessible to the physically disabled, and admission is free. The Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Exhibitions and programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and annual support from Epps Advertising. — W.G.

One thought on “Harvard Scholar, Author to Speak on Gilgamesh

  1. The lecture by Dr. Damrosch was at once entertaining and thought provoking. Rather than bemoan the few people who read classic literature, Dr. Damrosch turned the problem on its head and showed that everything old is new again, and vice versa. He neatly put our modernist anxieties into the context of those of the ancients and pointed out that we will be ancients ourselves soon enough.

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