Eric Wilson, Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University, will be the second speaker in Washington and Lee’s year-long “Questioning the Good Life” interdisciplinary seminar series. His talk will be Thursday, Nov. 8, at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.
The title of the speech, which is free and open to the public, is “Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy,” which is the title of his first book.
This book makes a compelling case that the loss of sadness would be sad for the culture of the United States and adds a healthy note of caution about the national obsession with happiness.
“Against Happiness” was reviewed in more than 20 publications, including “The Wall Street Journal,” “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” “The Economist” and “Globe and Mail.” It has been translated into 10 languages, appeared on the bestseller list of the “Los Angeles Times” and was featured on the Today Show, NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, the BBC’s Today Programme and CBC’s The Current.
Wilson is the author of “Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: or Why We Can’t Stop Looking at Terrible Things” (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012), “The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace” (Northwestern University Press, 2010), “My Business Is to Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing” (Iowa University Press, 2011), “The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines” (State University of New York Press, 2006) and “The Spiritual History of Ice: Romanticism, Science, and the Imagination” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), including other essays.
“Questioning the Good Life” featurse six visiting speakers during the 2012-2013 academic year, each of whom is recognized as a leader in the respective discipline (economics, literature, philosophy, psychology/sociology, neuroscience and business). The speakers will bring their considerable insight and expertise to bear on the topic of happiness.
Wilson earned his B.A. from Appalachian State University, his M.A. from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. from The Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York.