Schlesinger is a 1946 Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of almost two dozen works dealing with presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson and John Kennedy. He is best known for his analysis of the Kennedy administration and for his so-called "cyclical theory" of American history,,which holds that a shift from liberalism to conservatism, and vice-versa, occurs every 15 to 20 years. English Professor Robert Lucid, Schlesinger's host for his campus visit, called him "the dean of American historians." "He is interesting because he is simultaneously a very distinguished historian and a distinguished statesman," Lucid said. History Professor Bruce Kuklick said last week that Schlesinger "is probably the most influential and prominent historian of the United States." "He is an apologist for the Kennedy administration and he was close to hated by the left during the 1960's for coming out as a moderate for the Vietnam war," Kuklick said. "Throughout all of this he has been very active as a Democrat and a liberal. He has written on behalf of the liberal cause." Schlesinger was scheduled to come to the University in the fall to meet with an American History class but cancelled that visit. He will arrive this morning for a rescheduled visit and will meet with students from that class. His speech, scheduled for 4:30 in Logan Hall room 17, is entitled "After the Cold War, What?" After his speech, he will meet with students for an audience discussion for 30 minutes. Schlesinger, who is currently the Albert Schweitzer professor of humanities at the City University of New York, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of reknowned historian Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. Schlesinger graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1938 and began his impressive career as a writer in 1945 with his book, The Age of Jackson, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize for History in 1946. Schlesinger was a professor of history at Harvard from 1954 to 1961 and served as Special Assistant to President Kennedy from 1961 to 1963. His 1966 book on the Kennedy years, entitled A Thousand Days, earned him his second Pulitzer. PEN at Penn is named for the Poets, Essayists and Novelists Center of New York, which sponsors the lecture series. It is also funded by University Trustee Saul Steinberg. PEN at Penn, working in cooperation with the School of Arts and Sciences, will present four speakers this semester "on the theory that writers of a certain quality or reputation have something to contribute to the community," Lucid said last week. The other artsits include former Peruvian presidential candidate and poet Mario Llosa Vargas, poet Richard Wilbur, and playwright Wendy Wasserstein.Comments powered by Disqus
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