Celebrating Elizabeth Hardwick
“Perhaps Professor Hardwick wanted to drift off, through the window and away, but she couldn’t,” writes Darryl Pinckney in his remembrance of Elizabeth Hardwick, adapted from the introduction to his long-awaited edition of Hardwick’s collected essays. “Literature meant too much to her and was the only kind of writing she wanted to teach, not that it could be taught. She hoped we’d learn to ask questions of ourselves as we wrote. How can you sustain this tone? Then enough was enough, on to the next person and her or his fifteen minutes of lip-parting attention. I’m afraid I don’t find that terribly interesting as an approach, she’d say. Your weekly offering was not much commented upon; she much preferred to be interested in what she was reading. Boredom was not listlessness, it was a nervous strain, while to be occupied with something like a great book could be wonderfully, sometimes painfully, liberating.”
New York Review Books will host three events across the city to celebrate the publication of The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick. On Tuesday, October 17, Pinckney will join Susan Minot, Saskia Hamilton, and Daphne Merkin for a panel discussion at Barnard, where Hardwick taught for many years (7pm, Sulzberger Hall, 3009 Broadway, Third Floor). On Wednesday, October 18, he will be joined by Ian Buruma, Margo Jefferson, and Stephanie Danler at the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (7:30pm, 10 Grand Army Plaza). And on Wednesday, November 1, Pinckney and Sigrid Nunez will appear at Paula Cooper Gallery for a third discussion of Hardwick and her legacy (7pm, 534 W 21st Street).
All three events will be free and open to the public. Visitors may register for the Brooklyn discussion at bklynlibrary.org.