We invite you to the Castle Library for Gerard Passannante (Director’s Guest, 2019) and David Carroll Simon’s (Director’s Guest, 2019) short lectures “Leonardo’s Disasters” and “Lyric Misogyny and the Theory of Laughter.”

Gerard Passannante is a professor at the University of Maryland, where he specializes in Renaissance Comparative Literature. Passannante has written two books, The Lucretian Renaissance: Philology and the Afterlife of Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Catastrophizing: Materialism and the Making of Disaster (University of Chicago Press, 2019). He has been the recipient of the Rome Prize, a National Humanities Center fellowship, a Bogliasco Foundation fellowship, and a Cullman Center Fellowship.
“Leonardo’s Disasters”: Drawing upon his recently published book, Catastrophizing, Passannante will discuss Leonardo da Vinci’s lifelong obsession with images of natural catastrophe. Moving from the artist’s instructions on how to paint a deluge to his astonishing late sketches of the flood, Passannante will consider the philosophical questions that haunted Leonardo as he pictured scenes of destruction.

David Carroll Simon is an assistant professor of English at the University of Maryland. He teaches and writes about the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe. He has written various essays on the history and theory of emotions and one book, Light without Heat: The Observational Mood from Bacon to Milton (Cornell University Press, 2018).
“Lyric Misogyny and the Theory of Laughter”: This brief presentation will locate Renaissance seduction poetry in the history of misogyny, and it will argue that ancient, medieval, and Renaissance theories of laughter shed light on this disturbing and ongoing history. Taking one of Andrew Marvell’s most famous poems, “To His Coy Mistress,” as a test case, this talk will describe the role of “comic timing” in reproducing gender hierarchy–and in challenging it.
Welcome Cocktail at 6:00 PM
Presentations at 6:15 PM