Sunday, January 27 at 3pm - Jane Brox presents "Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives"
Please join us on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 3pm, when award-winning author Jane Brox presents her new work, Silence.
She has taught at Harvard University and Bowdoin College, and is currently on the faculty of Lesley University’s low-residency MFA Program.
Her most recent book, Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, was named one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2010 by Time magazine. She is also the author of Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm; Five Thousand Days Like This One, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Here and Nowhere Else, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has received the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She has been awarded grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Maine Arts Commission.
She lives in Brunswick, Maine.
photo credit Luc Demers
a compelling history of silence as a powerful shaper of the human mind—in prisons, in places of contemplation, and in our own lives
Through her evocative intertwined histories of the penitentiary and the monastery, Jane Brox illuminates the many ways silence is far more complex than any absolute; how it has influenced ideas of the self, soul, and society. Brox traces its place as a transformative power in the monastic world from Medieval Europe to the very public life of twentieth century monk Thomas Merton, whose love for silence deepened even as he faced his obligation to speak out against war. This fascinating history of ideas also explores the influence the monastic cell had on one of society’s darkest experiments in silence: Eastern State Penitentiary. Conceived of by one of the Founding Fathers and built on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the penitentiary’s early promulgators imagined redemption in imposed isolation, but they badly misapprehended silence’s dangers.
Finally, Brox’s rich exploration of silence’s complex and competing meanings leads us to imagine how we might navigate our own relationship with silence today, for the transformation it has always promised, in our own lives.