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Guest Speaker Garry Wills to Deliver the Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities at Bard College, March 7-10

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
CAPTION INFO: Renowned historian Garry Wills will be delivering the third biennial Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities at Bard College from March 7 to 10.  Image Credit: PHOTO CREDIT: Natalie Wills
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College honors preeminent poet, alumnus, and former Bard faculty member Anthony Hecht ’44 with renowned historian Garry Wills delivering the third biennial Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities. Wills, who is one of America’s most distinguished historians and public intellectuals, will present three lectures in March. The lecture series, Rome and Rhetoric: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, includes three lectures, “Caesar, Mighty Yet” on Monday, March 7; “Brutus, Rhetoric Verbal and Visual” on Tuesday, March 8; and “Antony, The Fox Knows Many Things” on Thursday, March 10 in Olin Auditorium at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Free and open to the public, all lectures begin at 5:00 p.m. A reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. will precede each lecture. Wills will deliver an additional lecture, “Shakespeare & Verdi: Men of the Theater,” at The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, New York City, on Wednesday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the event at The Morgan Library are $15 for general admission and $10 for Morgan members and Bard College affiliates. Please visit or call 212-685-0008, ext 560 for more information.

“It is a great honor that Anthony Hecht chose Bard as his home, both as a student and a faculty member, and we are delighted to recognize his extraordinary achievements through this important lecture series,” says Bard College President Leon Botstein.

This dedicated lecture series has been established to honor the memory of Hecht by reflecting his lifelong interest in literature, music, the visual arts, and our cultural history. Every two years, a distinguished scholar delivers a series of public lectures at Bard College and in New York City addressing works close to Hecht’s own imagination and sympathies. Each lecture series, which takes place during a Bard campus residency, will be published by Yale University Press. Previous Hecht Lecture Series speakers are literary scholar and author Christopher Ricks and historian, critic, author, and broadcaster Simon Schama.

Through his poems, scholarship, and teaching, Anthony Hecht has come to be recognized as the moral voice of his poetic generation, and his works continue to have a profound impact on contemporary American poetry. John Donatich, director of the Yale University Press, says, “These lectures are a wonderful way to remember Anthony Hecht’s serious commitment to the arts. Many important and enduring books have had their start as lectures; we look forward to many extraordinary possibilities.”

Anthony Hecht (1923–2004) graduated from Bard in 1944 and taught at the College from 1952–55 and 1962–66. Hecht was the author of seven books of poetry, including Flight Among the Tombs and The Darkness and the Light, as well as several critical books, among them Melodies Unheard: Essays on the Mysteries of Poetry and The Hidden Law: The Poetry of W. H. Auden. In 1951 he was the recipient of the Prix de Rome, the first fellow in literature to study at the American Academy in Rome. Numerous honors followed including the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for The Hard Hours, the Bollingen Prize, the Eugenio Montale Award for lifetime achievement in poetry, the Ruth Lilly Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Robert Frost Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the National Medal of the Arts. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. From 1982 to 1984 he served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the position now known as Poet Laureate.


Garry Wills is Professor of History Emeritus at Northwestern University, where he previously served as Henry R. Luce Professor of American Culture and Public Policy (1980–88) and adjunct professor of history (1989–2005). One of America’s most distinguished historians and public intellectuals, he is the author of 40 books, including Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America (1993), for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize; Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1978), for which he received a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Merle Curti Award; Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (2000), a controversial critique of the papacy of Pius IX; and such wide-ranging historical studies and reflections on religion as Jack Ruby (1968), Confessions of a Conservative (1979), Under God: Religion and American Politics (1990), Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1995), John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity (1997), Why I Am a Catholic (2002), and Bomb Power (2010).

Among his many awards and honors, Garry Wills has received the Presidential Medal of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wilbur Cross Medal of the Yale Graduate School, John Hope Franklin Award of the Chicago Historical Society, and Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting, for writing and narrating “The Choice” for Frontline. He holds a B.A. from St. Louis University, an M.A. from Xavier University of Cincinnati, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. In addition, he has been awarded numerous honorary degrees, including a doctor of humane letters from Bard College in 2009.

Garry Wills was a junior fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies (1961–62), and associate professor of classics (1962–68) and adjunct professor of humanities (1969–80) at Johns Hopkins University. He has served as the first Washington Irving Professor of Modern American History at Union College; Fellow of the Institute of Humanities at the University of Edinburgh; Regents Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Silliman Seminarist at Yale University; and Christian Gauss Lecturer at Princeton University, among other academic appointments.



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This event was last updated on 03-07-2011