Updike’s writings lead off fall series for Vanderbilt’s (Lunch) Box lectures

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After a summer hiatus, the popular “Thinking Out of the (Lunch) Box” series resumes Sept. 6 with a lecture by Vanderbilt Professor Volney Gay on novelist John Updike’s use of sexual wisdom in the portrayal of some of his characters.

Gay, a professor of religious studies and director of Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, will speak at noon at the downtown Nashville Public Library. Vanderbilt Professor of Philosophy David Wood will moderate the discussion, titled “Sexual Wisdom in John Updike.”

Gay, who is also a professor of psychiatry and anthropology, defines sexual wisdom as “the momentary magic evident in Updike’s brilliant portraits of men who seek sexual conquest and repair.” Updike’s books include Rabbit Run, the first of four volumes that chronicle the life of Harry Angstrom. Two of the volumes, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, won the Pulitzer Prize.

The conversation, presented by Vanderbilt University and the Nashville Public Library, is the first of a series of events focusing on Updike’s writings leading up to Nov. 4, when Updike will receive the Nashville Public Library Literary Award. The award recognizes distinguished authors and other individuals for their contributions to the world of books and reading. Updike has written more than 60 books of fiction and non-fiction, and is also a poet, playwright, literary critic, art critic and essayist. He will also deliver a public lecture at 10 a.m. on Nov. 4 at the main library. For more information on events surrounding his work, click on www.library.nashville.org

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be in the conference center of the library, located at 615 Church St. Reservations are required. All those planning to attend should call 615-322-8585 or email lunchbox@vanderbilt.edu

A limited number of box lunches by Provence Breads and Cafè will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. that day. To help defray the cost of the luncheon series, donations will be accepted at the door. Other (Lunch) Box lectures scheduled this fall include:

• “Why Do People Become Environmental Activists?” Florence Faucher-King, associate professor of political science, on Oct. 4;
• “Reading and Writing in an Age of Consumerism,” John McCarthy, director of the Max Kade Center for European & German Studies and professor of German and Comparative Literature, on Nov. 1;
• “Undergraduate Education in America: Past, Present and Future,” Nick Zeppos, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, on Dec. 6.

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-NEWS

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