The Bookplate is happily continuing their popular Authors & Oysters event series at The Retriever Bar in 2023. “The World Girls”; poets Meredith Davies Hadaway, Erin Murphy, and Amanda Newell were featured in the most recent Authors & Oysters event on December 14th. Now in the new year, on Wednesday, January 11th at 6pm, all are invited to The Retriever to hear author Tom Cousineau present “The Seance of Reading: F. Scott Fitzgerald and his Gatsby”.
Inspired by Mircea Eliade’s commentaries on the Romanian ballad, “The Legend of Master Manole” — in which the master-builder Manole learns that he must bury his wife Ana alive in the walls of the monastery that he is building at Curtea de Arges — Cousineau’s book gathers together guest-lectures presented at various Romanian universities in which the author explored the disguised return of archaic building-rituals in nine “monuments” of twentieth-century century literature, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” James Joyce’s “The Sister’s,” Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and “Endgame,” Fernando Pessoa’s”The Book of Disquiet,” T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Emil Cioran’s “A Short History of Decay,” Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and William Faulkner’s “Light in August.”
Cousineau, Professor of English (Emeritus) at Washington College, former visiting professor at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bucharest, edited the newsletter of the Samuel Beckett Society for several years and co-directed the “Présence de Samuel Beckett” conference at Le Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle in Normandy. He is the author of After the Final No: Samuel Beckett’s Trilogy, Waiting for Godot: Form in Movement, Ritual Unbound: Reading Sacrifice in Modernist Fiction, Three-Part Inventions: The Novels of Thomas Bernhard, An Unwritten Novel: Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet (recipient of an “Outstanding Title” citation from the American Library Association), and the focus of this event; The Séance of Reading: Uncanny Designs in Modernist Writing
“From Eliot to Fitzgerald to Beckett, Pessoa, and Cioran, Cousineau’s wide-ranging study of literary Modernism offers insightful and sensitive interpretations of major canonical pieces of American and European literature: a rewarding and gracious book.”
– Galin Tihanov, George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University of London
“Thomas Cousineau’s “The Séance of Reading” is itself a Séance to read. His idea that sacrifice, as expressed in the Romanian legend of Manole, holds a key to understanding certain literary classics, shines a fresh and strange light on those classics.”
– John Vernon, Author of “Peter Doyle,” “The Last Canyon,” and “Lucky Billy”
For more event details contact The Bookplate at 410-778-4167 or [email protected]. This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. The next Authors & Oysters event is scheduled for 1/18 with Academy Award-winner, Ernest Thompson. All events are held in the back room of The Retriever. The Retriever is located at 337 ½ High Street, in Chestertown, Maryland.