Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2005 Newsletter

Public Programs


Modern bard Benjamin Bagby reinterprets

Fall and winter of 2004-2005 witnessed much activity in public programs at the Ransom Center. From a successful Austin Museum Day to book signings and other events, the Ransom Center has been very busy.

Some of the most exciting public programs in Ransom Center history involved the public opening of the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers. The Center hosted a symposium, a screening of All The President's Men, and Watergate-related exhibitions that contributed to record-breaking attendance figures in February 2005.

February also saw the Ransom Center's collaborative presentation of Beowulf, performed in eighth-century fashion and duplicating the language and musical accompaniment of the time. Benjamin Bagby, the premier scop of the tale today, has performed this piece at New York's Lincoln Center, and repeated it for an enthusiastic full house in our Prothro Theater.

Engaging lectures were given by Selina Hastings, author of Evelyn Waugh: A Biography, and novelist Shirley Hazzard, author of Greene in Capri, who provided remarkable insights into the lives of these important British authors, subjects of our Writing Among the Ruins: Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh exhibition.

Jeff Rosenheim, Associate Curator of Photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, offered a very powerful presentation on the collaborative work of Walker Evans and James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the focus of our fall photography exhibition.

Book signing highlights featured Les Klinger, the editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, a two-volume set of Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories about the great sleuth, and Thomas Cahill, who signed copies of his most recent book Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter.

Throughout April, programming will feature readings, lectures, and a month-long celebration of Poetry on the Plaza.

Professor of History at UT-Arlington, Dr. David Buisseret, will give a lecture titled "The Richest Map Dealer's Catalog in the World: Foundations of Western Cartography at the Harry Ransom Center" at 7 p.m. on April 1. John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, continues the discussion of Watergate and talks about his current book, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, at 7:30 p.m. on April 5. On April 11 at 7 p.m., Dr. Peter Turchi, Director of the prestigious Warren Wilson College Writing Program, will discuss his book Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer.

Dr. Christopher Ricks, Oxford Professor of Poetry and Distinguished Commonwealth Professor at Boston University, leads a discussion of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan entitled "Blonde on Blonde" on April 19, and contrasts "Beckett's Way with Shakespeare's Words" on April 20. Both events are at 7 p.m.

April is National Poetry Month, and every Wednesday at noon during the month, the Center will feature a different theme for Poetry on the Plaza. Poetry on the Plaza gets hip on the 6th with "The Beats," and maps the landscape with "Geographies" on the 13th. Poetry of the profane throws down "Slam" on the 20th, the University homesteads on the 27th with "Forty Acres of Words," and this season of Poetry on the Plaza wraps up on May 4th with the global "World Poetry."

At 7 p.m. on May 12, premiere bookbinding specialist Priscilla Spitler discusses the art of designer books as a complement to the exhibition In Flight: Artists' Books, Fine Bindings, and Broadsides.

The Center is honored to host Jim Lehrer of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS to talk about his latest book The Franklin Affair and the state of journalism today. The event, at 7 p.m. on June 16, will be followed by a booksigning.

For more information on these and other events, visit the Ransom Center website, or call (512) 471-8944.  

-Oliver Franklin

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