Sep. 22, 2010

"Melville’s Secrets" topic of Harding Lecture

Caleb Crain

Caleb Crain, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, will address "Melville's Secrets" at the seventh annual Harding Lecture tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 23.

Crain wrote the book "American Sympathy: Men, Friendship and Literature in the New Nation," and has authored numerous articles about American literature and culture in newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals. His essays, reviews and fiction have appeared in such venues as The New Yorker, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Review of Books. His blog, "Steamboats Are Ruining Everything," won the Cliopatra Award for Best Writer in 2007.

Crain, who received his doctorate in English from Columbia University, worked as senior editor at the magazine Lingua Franca and was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He also has taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia.

SUNY Geneseo launched the annual Harding lecture in 2004 in honor of the late Distinguished Professor Emeritus Walter Harding, an internationally famous faculty member who was the world's leading scholar on 19th-century author Henry David Thoreau. Harding was the founding secretary and former president of the Thoreau Society, the oldest and largest international organization devoted to the study of any American author.

Harding taught in the Department of English for 26 years. He died in 1996. Harding's wife, Marjorie Brook Harding, created an endowment to make the lecture series possible. She significantly enlarged the endowment last spring, assuring that generations of Geneseo students and faculty will benefit from Walter Harding's tradition of scholarship and learning.

• Caleb Crain will deliver "Melville's Secrets," tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m. in the College Union ballroom. It's free and open to the public.