Celebrity Lecture Series at MSU
May 27, 2011 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Web artifact made of solid gold CELEBRITY LECTURES SERIES from Michigan State University. Ten years worth of lectures were posted in 1998. They are all still there-- awaiting your return. Edward Albee ,Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, Jacques d'Amboise, E.L. Doctorow, Richard Ford, Carlos Fuentes, David Halberstam, Joseph Heller, John Irving, Judith Jamison, William Kennedy, Norman Mailer, David McCullough, Terry McMillan, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, Jane Smiley, Susan Sontag, Amy Tan, Paul Theroux, John Updike,Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Derek Walcott, Garry Wills, August Wilson and Tom Wolfe. I listened to the Vonnegut lecture. Imagine-- a whole hour and a half (Well, I skipped the first 9 minutes of introductions.) with my favorite author wheezing and sputtering. How refreshing to hear him declaim in his own voice and reveal the happiest day of his life and his own favorite from among his works -"The Sirens of Titan".
posted by notmtwain (8 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Thank Grodd for VLC player. And thank you for the post!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2011

Their definition of celebrity is charmingly old-fashioned.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:13 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Sirens of Titan is my favorite, too. It balances Vonnegut's characteristic sweetness with his world weariness better than any other book, and has some of the most beautiful moments in literature I've encountered.

This is a neat post, also!
posted by byanyothername at 8:18 AM on May 27, 2011

I subscribed to this series for years. John Irving was one of the best speakers I heard. It was very memorable. He read a long excerpt from the first draft of A Widow for One Year, and then talked a little bit about everything that was wrong with it, and then read the revised draft. I felt like I learned a lot about writing, and his process, and I thought it was cool that he put the crappy version out there for people to hear.

Jane Smiley was was also memorable, in that listening to her was excruciating. I don't know if she had terrible stage fright or what, but it was a very bad talk, and I mostly just wanted it to be over to put her out of her misery.
posted by not that girl at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2011

Looks great, is there a way to listen to them without using Real Audio?
posted by storybored at 2:01 PM on May 27, 2011

Being old-fashioned, possibly charming even, I loved this post.

So little time, so little time.
posted by jan murray at 3:08 PM on May 27, 2011

One of those beautiful motherlodes the web makes available every once in a while.

Our cup overflowth.

posted by Skygazer at 6:28 PM on May 27, 2011

Wow. This takes me back, since I was present for a good number of those lectures. It was relatively easy to score free tickets through the Honors College.
posted by kaszeta at 2:11 PM on May 30, 2011

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