Adam Gopnik on Dickens, Trollope and New York

Reading & Writing
Adam Gopnik on Dickens, Trollope and New York
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May 04, 2021 May 04, 2021 1440 Adam Gopnik on Dickens, Trollope and New York Brought to you by 92nd Street Y + Gather
May 4, 2021
11:30 am

Back by popular demand! Adam Gopnik returns to 92Y for a trio of lectures on Dickens, Trollope and on walking in New York. In his first two lectures, Gopnik explore the relation between the radical and liberal imaginations, with high Victorian fiction seen as a distant mirror of our own troubling time and the back and forth between the prophetic, poetic imagination (Dickens) and the pragmatic, prose imagination (Trollope) as central objects. On Dickens, he writes: “what Dickens is really saying is: We live in a society of abundance and injustice, and those of us who are lucky enough to partake in the abundance have to use our good fortune to help the unjustly treated. Dickens also says we have to enjoy it.” “For Trollope,” he adds, “the boat goes in only one direction, and that is toward greater equality, greater democracy—equality of fortune and circumstance. Trollope was not a radical. Yet he was unquestioningly a liberal of an ideologically rigorous kind—exactly what we mean by a ‘progressive.’” Gopnik urges students to read as much of Dickens' Bleak House and A Christmas Carol, and as much of Trollope's Phineas Finn and Barchester Towers, as they can manage. For his third lecture, Gopnik answers the question, “is there a peculiarly New York addition to the meanings of walking?” He writes: “in New York, walking, even without companions, can still be an expression of companionship, of expansive connection; a happy opening out to an enlarged civic self rather than a narrowing down to a contemplative inner one; a way of scooting toward the American Over-Soul, in sneakers.” Schedule: Tue, May 4: On Dickens; Tue, May 11: On Trollope; and Tue, May 25: On Walking New York. (Note, while each talk can be purchased separately, subscribing for all three results in a $15 savings).

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