Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Portrait of Viet Thanh Nguyen

Harvard University Norton Lectures | To Save and to Destroy: On Writing as an Other, Lecture 1 | On the Double or Inauthenticity



Norton Lecture One: On the Double, Or Inauthenticity

This opening lecture addresses what it means to write as an other, especially given writing’s power both to save and to destroy the other. The lecture also lays out the methodology of the lectures, an embodied, autobiographical criticism that emerges from the tension between the humanities and the bare life of refugees.

“On the Double, or Inauthenticity” is the first of six Norton Lectures with Viet Thanh Nguyen. For all Lecture dates and information, click here.

Norton Lectures are free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available starting at noon on the day of the lecture online through the Harvard Box Office (handling fees apply) or in person at Sanders Theatre. Limit of four tickets per person. Tickets valid until 5:45pm.

Free parking is available at the Broadway Garage, located at 7 Felton Street, between Broadway and Cambridge Streets.

About the Speakers

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and numerous other awards. His most recent publication is A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial. His other books are the sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed; a short story collection, The Refugees; Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction); and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He has also published Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his son, Ellison. He is a University Professor at the University of Southern California. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, he is also the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.

Min Hyoung Song is the Chair of the English Department and Director of the Asian American Studies Program at Boston College. His most recent book is entitled Climate Lyricism. He is also the author of two other books, The Children of 965: On Writing and Not Writing as an Asian American and Strange Future: Pessimism and the 1992 Los Angeles RiotsThe Children of 1965 won the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Prize in Literary Criticism, the Alpha Sigma Nu Award in Literature and Fine Arts, and received an Honorable Mention for the Association for the Study of the Arts in the Present (ASAP) Book Prize. He is the general editor (with Rajini Srikanth) of the four-volume series “Asian American Literature in Transition” for Cambridge University Press, and co-editor (with Rajini Srikanth) of The Cambridge History of Asian American Literature. In addition to numerous shorter publications in edited volumes and academic journals, his writings have appeared in venues like the Los Angeles Review of Books, Washington PostChronicle of Higher Education, Public Books, The Chicago Review of Books, and the Margins. 

Introduction By:

Bruno Carvalho, Interim Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center.

About the Norton Lectures

The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship in Poetry was endowed in 1925. Harvard’s preeminent lecture series in the arts and humanities, the Norton Lectures recognize individuals of extraordinary talent who, in addition to their particular expertise, have the gift of wide dissemination and wise expression. The term “poetry” is interpreted in the broadest sense to encompass all poetic expression in language, music, or the fine arts.

Harvard University Norton Lectures | To Save and to Destroy: On Writing as an Other, Lecture 1 | On the Double or Inauthenticity


Sep 19 2023
Event ended


6:00 pm