Stressing the importance of individuality in literature, author Irving Howe read excerpts from a variety of literary works to a group of about 35 University students and faculty yesterday. In an hour-long speech at the David Rittenhouse Laboratory, Howe read from works by Rousseau, Shakespeare, Whitman and Marx, to trace the development of the idea of the self in literature and to urge audience members to learn about themselves. Howe described this idea as having historical foundations centuries ago, saying people must use the works to become better acquainted with their "inner self." Howe, who is also a professor at the City University of New York, has written over 59 books on the subject of the "self in literature." Howe's speech was mainly theoretical and focused on authors' different approaches to identifying the individual. Citing Whitman's "Song of Myself" as an example of the consciousness of self being, Howe said that human beings often neglect their ability to recognize the full self. Howe also said that it is important to recognize different views of the individual, such as Nietzsche's which rejects it entirely. "The idea of the self has been a liberating and revolutionary step," he said. Most students said they enjoyed Howe's talk, but added that they wish the University would sponsor more intellectually stimulating speeches like this one. Gerry Bocher, a sociology major at Temple University, said he even skipped a class to attend the talk and added that it was well worth it. "I was surprised at his examination of the self," he said. "I was really impressed." Howe's speech was part of the continuing School of Arts and Sciences Leon Lecture series.Comments powered by Disqus
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