The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Leo Damrosch Lecture on The Club **TIME CHANGE

Wed, October 30, 2019 | Prothro Theatre

5:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Event Poster
Event Poster

Damrosch breathes life into “The Friends Who Shaped an Age” (in his subtitle’s phrase). As this stellar book moves from one Club member to another, it comes together as an ambitious venture homing in on the nature of creative stimulus. In his award-winning life of Swift and, more recently, in Eternity’s Sunrise, his study of Blake, Damrosch approaches his subjects as creatures of their “world”; a group portrait is a logical sequel. Here are multiple, deeply researched biographies in one. Resonating beyond the well-documented links among these leading lights, The Club captures their distinctly individual voices and invites us to feel the pulsations of contact over a period of 20 years. . . .


As Damrosch puts it, Gibbon broke with “tedious chronicles of fact,” maintaining a “storytelling momentum” that is “constantly enlivened by memorable incidents and characterizations.” This could be a description of Damrosch’s own achievement. The best historians, he goes on, invite readers to accompany them “behind the scenes.” Damrosch does precisely that here, and the chapter makes a fitting near-finale to a book that sustains a shared conversation, a terrific feat in keeping with that of the Club itself.


Lyndall Gordon, New York Times Book Review

Sponsored by: English Department

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