With Cecily Swanson

December 11, 2011 – 8pm


December 11, 2011 – 8pm

An Impure History of the Gold Standard by Sean Tommasi
This talk investigates the gold standard through the original hipster philosopher, Georg Simmel (1858-1918), whose incisive writings on fashion, parties and money make him urgently relevant to the problems of modern life. Linking money to gold is a way of limiting the production of money and thereby decreasing the risk of inflation. The debates surrounding the gold standard monetary policy run throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and have recently been renewed with especial intensity as experts try to figure out a way to fix the economy. What usually gets left out of the debates is the broader significance of the problem: how it bears on social relations, artistic experience, love and the meaning of life itself.

Of Allergies and the Man: A (literary) History of Hay Fever by Cecily Swanson
Certain diseases have stolen all the literary limelight. This talk pushes TB, plague, and Spanish flu to the end of the shelf to make room for one of history’s more friendly foes – Hay Fever. The aesthetic merits of this springtime scourge may be scant, but allergies nevertheless hold a certain place in the annals of the 20th century literature. The poetics of pollen has, at the very least, something to tell us about masculinity, modernity, and the marketplace.

How I [Stole] Certain of My Books by Sam Frank
“I have always been meaning to explain the way in which I came to [steal] certain of my books [Dogstar, House of Stairs, The Aesthetics of Resistance, Coup d'Etat: The Technique of Revolution, New Impressions of Africa]. It involved a very special method. And it seems to me that it is my duty to reveal this method, since I have the feeling that future writers may perhaps be able to exploit it fruitfully.” With illustrations by Joanna Neborsky, after Henri-A. Zo.

When Joanna Neborsky http://joannaneborsky.com/ discovered scissors, she was six. Then somebody threw rock, and everybody died. She makes picture books, like Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon.

Sean Tommasi is a PhD student in comparative literature at Emory University. He is writing his dissertation on money and taste in nineteenth-century discourses. His knowledge of finance, monetary policy, business and economics is amateur at best — he decided on the topic when he saw the original Wall Street movie for the first time like a year ago.

Cecily Swanson is a graduate student in Cornell’s Department of English. Her dissertation “A Circle is a Necessity: Female modernists and the Aesthetics of Sociability” considers how writers in the post-suffrage era negotiated the disjunction between a bohemian lifestyle on the one hand and a modernist investment in autonomy, exclusivity, and purity on the other

“Modestly [Sam Frank has] evolved nearly 25 story-plots. [Sam Frank has] been researching, expanding and elaborating on these 25 plots since many months. Currently, [Sam Frank is] concentrating on a mega-novel entitled ‘DOGSTAR.’”