Salman Rushdie to Deliver Inaugural Tanner Lecture

Internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie will deliver a lecture titled "Step Across This Line" in the first of the Tanner lecture series focusing on this year's theme, "The Virtues of Tolerance and the Crossing of Lines: Islam in the History of Western Culture."

Internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie will deliver a lecture titled “Step Across This Line” in the first of the Tanner lecture series focusing on this year’s theme, “The Virtues of Tolerance and the Crossing of Lines: Islam in the History of Western Culture.”

Although Rushdie first came to the attention of the world at large after a fatwa provoked by his novel, “The Satanic Verses,” was declared upon him, he had been well known to readers of contemporary literature as one of the most distinguished writers of English. His novel, “Midnight’s Children,” won not only the Booker Prize for the year it was published, but later, was named the outstanding Booker Prize-winning novel in the first 25 years of the prize. The winner of numerous other literary prizes in dozens of countries, Rushdie occupies an unusually prestigious international position as a courageous spokesman for artistic freedoms against religious absolutism.

During his lecture, Rushdie will speak on the issue of the changed nature of frontiers in our time: the frontier as physical reality, as metaphor and as ethical boundary. His concerns will include the historical need of persecuted writers to flee their homelands when persecuted and the writers’ need to reject metaphorical frontiers in literature. Finally, he will address the issue of living where ethical limits are flaunted in the pursuit of religious and political goals.

Rushdie’s lectures, free and open to the public, are scheduled for February 25 at 4 p.m. and February 26 at 4:30 p.m., both at the Levinson Auditorium in the Yale Law School.

In conjunction with the Tanner Lectures, the Whitney Humanities Center presents a week of special events including:

* Friday, February 22: The First Western Renaissance: Baghdad in the 9th Century, a lecture by Professor Dimitri Gutas; lunch for Fellows and former Fellows of the WHC; by invitation only.

* Sunday, February 24: Destiny, a film by the renowned Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, whose work has been lionized in Europe, but banned in his homeland. This film shows the 10th century Muslin Spanish philosopher Averro‘s (Ibn Rushd), the great Andalusian, commentator of Aristotle, as the trunk of a tree on the verge of splitting into distinct Islamic and European branches. Screenings at 4 and 7 p.m., Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium; free and open to the public.

* Wednesday, February 27: Reading the Qur’an in Latin Christendom, 1140 to 1540; a lecture by Professor Thomas E. Burman, University of Tennessee; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; 4:00 p.m.; reception immediately following; free and open to the public.

* Thursday, February 28: Imagined Borders in Cordoba and Queens, a lecture by Professor Jerrilynn Dodds, School of Architecture of the City College of New York;Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium; 5:00 p.m.; free and open to the public.

An appointment as a Tanner Lecturer is a recognition of uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values. The lectures were established by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner, who was a member of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Utah from 1946 until his death in 1993. The O.C. Tanner Company, manufacturing jewelers specializing in corporate recognition awards, forms the material base for the extensive Tanner philanthropies.

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