2010 Programs

Lyndall Gordon
Lyndall Gordon
Lives like Loaded Guns American cover
Lives like Loaded Guns cover

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Abyss has no biographer": Can we risk the Abyss?

Speaker:  Lyndall Gordon, author of Lives like Loaded Guns
7 pm
At Johnson Chapel, Amherst College Campus (for a campus map, click here)
Fee: none

Biographer Lyndall Gordon discusses her new book, Lives like Loaded Guns:  Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds. This provocative work proposes epilepsy as the cause of the poet's enigmatic behavior and creativity, and examines the family's multi-layered saga after Dickinson's death.

Lyndall Gordon grew up in Cape Town where she studied history and English, then nineteenth-century American literature at Columbia in New York. In 1973 she came to England through the Rhodes Trust. For many years she was a tutor and lecturer in English at Oxford, where she is now Senior Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College. Each summer she participates in the Writing Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont.

The first of her biographies, Eliot's Early Years (1977), began as a student thesis. The British Academy awarded it the Rose Mary Crawshay prize. A sequel, Eliot's New Life, was published at the time of the poet’s centenary (1988). The two books were rewritten as one, T.S.Eliot: An Imperfect Life (1999), with new material collected over twenty years. Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Life won the James Tait Black Memorial prize for biography (1984), and Virago brought out a revised edition. Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life (1994), winner of the Cheltenham prize for literature, has also been revised and reissued. She is also author of Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft (2005).

Gordon is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and member of PEN. She is married to Professor of Cellular Pathology, Siamon Gordon; they live in Oxford and have two grown-up daughters.

This event is co-sponsored by Amherst College Archives and Special Collections and the Jones Library Special Collections Department. 

Visit our Dickinson in the News page to read some of the reponses to the theory of epilepsy.

*Parking (without a permit) is allowed in Amherst College campus lots after 4:30 p.m.   Johnson Chapel is about one block from the center of Amherst, where parking can also be found along Boltwood Avenue.  Do allow time to park, as other events are taking place on campus this evening.  For a parking map of downtown Amherst, click here