Event: The Harry Ransom Center hosts free public programs.
When: Various dates throughout November and December.
Where: Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, 21st and Guadalupe streets.
Background: All events are free and open to the public. Seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of events.
Poetry on the Plaza: “The Moon and the Stars”
Wednesday, Nov. 4, noon
The Harry Ransom Center presents the Poetry on the Plaza event “The Moon and the Stars.” Michener Center alumna Carrie Fountain, Senior Lecturer and Research Associate Mary Kay Hemenway of the Astronomy Department and McDonald Observatory Director David Lambert read poetry related to the heavens and night skies. Refreshments will be served at this event. This program complements the Ransom Center’s exhibition “Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works,” which runs through Jan. 3.
Curator’s Tour of “Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works”
Thursday, Nov. 5, noon
The Ransom Center’s Associate Director and Hobby Foundation Librarian, Richard Oram, leads a free lunch-time gallery tour of “Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works.” Discover “other worlds” and the changing notions of the solar system, the moon and the planets over the centuries. In conjunction with the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, this exhibition, drawn from the Center’s collections, showcases important astronomical discoveries of the last 500 years.
Other Worlds Film Series: “A Trip to the Moon” (“Le Voyage dans la lune”)
Monday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m.
The Harry Ransom Center kicks off the Other Worlds Film Series with a collection of early silent films, including Georges Méliès’s 1902 short “A Trip to the Moon” (“Le Voyage dans la lune”). In this classic silent film, a group of men travel to the moon in a capsule shot from a giant cannon. This screening complements the Ransom Center’s exhibition “Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works.”
Harry Ransom Lecture: James Fenton
Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.
The University Co-op presents a Harry Ransom Lectures event with poet and critic James Fenton, who will discuss “Life-Writing,” new approaches to autobiography, biography and memoir. A book signing follows. Fenton was born in Lincoln, England, in 1949 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. He has worked as a political journalist, drama critic, book reviewer, war correspondent, foreign correspondent and columnist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1994 to 1999. In 2007, Fenton was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Fenton’s “Selected Poems” was published in 2006. He is the editor of “The New Faber Book of Love Poems” (2008) and D. H. Lawrence’s “Selected Poems” (2009). This program will be webcast live.
The Harry Ransom Lectures honor former University of Texas Chancellor Harry Huntt Ransom and highlight the Ransom Center’s vital role in the university’s intellectual and cultural life. The program brings internationally renowned writers, artists and scholars to Austin for public events and conversations with university students. The lectures are made possible by the support of the University Co-op.
Other Worlds Film Series: “Forbidden Planet”
Monday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m.
The Other Worlds Film Series continues at the Harry Ransom Center with “Forbidden Planet” (1956). Starring Leslie Nielsen and Walter Pidgeon and directed by Fred M. Wilcox, this science-fiction classic tells the story of a crew sent to investigate the sudden silence of a scientist colony on another planet, only to find two survivors and a dangerous secret. This screening complements the Ransom Center’s exhibition “Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works.”
Poetry on the Plaza: “Singers and Songwriters”
Wednesday, Dec. 2, noon
The Harry Ransom Center presents the Poetry on the Plaza event “Singers and Songwriters.” Refreshments will be served.
“Making Sense of Hard Times: How the Arts
Helped Americans through the Great Depression”
Thursday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
For the 2009 Stanley Burnshaw Lecture, author Morris Dickstein presents “Making Sense of Hard Times: How the Arts Helped Americans through the Great Depression.” A book signing follows. What is the role of the arts in hard times, such as the Great Depression or the current recession? How do they help people deal with both social problems and their own private fears? Using examples from literature, film, music and photography, Dickstein explores how artists and popular entertainers of the 1930s helped the nation understand and survive an unprecedented social crisis.
Dickstein is a Distinguished Professor of English at Queens College and at the Graduate Center, where he is also a senior fellow of the Center for the Humanities. His books include “Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties” (1977, 1997), a nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism; “Double Agent: The Critic and Society” (1992); and “Leopards in the Temple: The Transformation of American Fiction, 1945-1970 ” (2002). Dickstein is a contributing editor of Partisan Review and has published many essays and reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The Nation, the Times Literary Supplement, The American Scholar and other major periodicals.
Other Worlds Film Series: “Stardust”
Monday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
The Other Worlds Film Series concludes at the Harry Ransom Center with “Stardust” (2007). The film tells the story of Tristan, who ventures into a magical kingdom to retrieve a fallen star for his beloved and discovers he’s one of many who seek the star. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film stars Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ricky Gervais, Rupert Everett and Robert De Niro, whose archive resides at the Ransom Center. This screening complements the Ransom Center’s exhibition “Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works.”
High-resolution press images relating to all events are available.