Posts Tagged ‘Peter Stansky’

“A Company of Authors” this Saturday: Come join me for a discussion of Stanford’s latest books!

Monday, April 19th, 2021

It’s coming! It’s coming! This Saturday, April 24, at 1 p.m. (PST) Stanford will hold another get-together for authors and their audiences to chat about books – the 18th consecutive gathering hosted by Peter Stansky, a notable author (and Orwell scholar) himself. Although it won’t be an in-person event, you’ll still have an opportunity to buy signed books at a discount from the Stanford Bookstore.

I know what you’re thinking: didn’t we just have a Company of Authors zoom get together? You’re right. That was last October, when I presented my Conversations with René Girard: Prophet of Envy. But that was a delayed rescheduling for the COVID-cancelled spring event. As we all know, time is measured differently in COVID years. This author, personally, is glad to catch up: I have another book to present: The Man Who Brought Brodsky into English: Conversations with George L. Kline. (And by next spring – my Czesław Miłosz: A California Life will be out.)

But let’s focus on this event for book-lovers the world over: the 18th Annual “A Company of Authors” Sat, 4/24, 1-5:15 pm PT, via Zoom. Drop in or spend the entire afternoon with distinguished Stanford authors as they share their recently published books. Free and open to the public! Learn more and register here:


  • When: Saturday, April 24
  • Time: 1:00 pm – 5:15 pm (PT)
  • Platform: Online via Zoom


1:00 pm Welcome (Peter Stansky)

1:05 – 1:35 pm The Arts
Peter Stansky, Chair

Marci Kwon, Enchantments: Joseph Cornell and American Modernism
Usha Iyer, Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema
Shane Denson, Discorrelated Images

1:40 – 2:10 pm The Richness of Writing
Barbara Gelpi, Chair

Daniel Mason, A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth: Stories
Maria Cichosz, Cam & Beau
Paul Robinson presenting John L’Heureux‘s The Beggar’s Pawn: A Novel

2:15 – 2:35 pm A Celebration of George Shultz
Larry Horton, Chair

George Shultz and John Taylor, Choose Economic Freedom: Enduring Policy Lessons from the 1970s and 1980s
George Shultz and James Timbie, A Hinge of History: Governance in an Emerging New World

2:40 – 3:20 pm The World of Literature and Photography
Roland Greene, Chair

Valerie Miner, Bread and Salt
Cynthia Haven, The Man Who Brought Brodsky into English: Conversations with George L. Kline
Jeannette Ferrary, The Future Is Leaving: photographs from once-upon-a-time
Richard White, California Exposures: Envisioning Myth and History

3:25 – 3:55 pm History and Politics
Carolyn Lougee, Chair

Jack N. RakoveBeyond Belief, Beyond Conscience: The Radical Significance of the Free Exercise of Religion and The Cambridge Companion to The Federalist
Terry M. Moe, Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy
Priya Satia, Time’s Monster: How History Makes History

4:00 – 4:40 pm How We Function
Tania Granoff, Chair

Rafael Pelayo, How to Sleep: The New Science-Based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night
David Eagleman, Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain
James P. Steyer, ed., Which Side of History: How Technology is Reshaping Democracy and Our Lives
Adrian DaubWhat Tech Calls Thinking: An Inquiry into the Intellectual Bedrock of Silicon Valley

4:45 – 5:15 pm God, Butterflies, and Britain
Paul Robinson, Chair

Tanya Luhrmann, How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others
Leslie Friedman, The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View
Peter Stansky, Twenty Years On: Views and Reviews of Modern Britain

5:15 pm Closing Remarks (Peter Stansky)

This program is co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the Stanford Humanities Center. Special thanks to the Stanford Bookstore. All listed titles are available for sale at a 10% discount from the Stanford Bookstore online for a limited time.

Register here:

Join us for a (virtual) “Company of Authors” event this Saturday! Catch up on a year of Stanford books.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

A Company of Authors will be a virtual event this year, but please join us on Zoom to catch up with the latest Stanford books. I’ll be there, with this year’s Conversations with René Girard: Prophet of Envy (Bloomsbury). I’ll be joined by some amazing people – Norm Naimark on Stalin and the Fate of Europe, medievalist Elaine Treharne on Text Technologies, and many more.

The seventeenth annual A Company of Authors, sponsored by Stanford’s Continuing Studies, will run from 1-5 p.m. this Saturday, October 24 (poster below). As always, the event is hosted by Stanford’s Peter Stansky, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, who promises “an exciting display of the richness, depth and variety of the books written by members of the Stanford community.” He’ll also be winding up the afternoon by presenting his own book, Leonard Woolf: Bloomsbury Socialist, with co-author Fred Leventhal.

At least one of your friends will be in the line-up of authors – me, and I’ll be featured on the first panel at 1 p.m. Go to the site here to find the list of books and presenters (or check out the poster below, if you can read the fine print); and click register for the event. It’s free, and all listed titles are available for sale at a 10% discount from the Stanford Bookstore online.

Stanford authors, scintillating books at “A Company of Authors” this Saturday – be there!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

It’s that time of year again. For the 16th consecutive year, an impressive array of Stanford writers will be discussing their recently published books. The Book Haven has often presented at the event – last year for Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girardthe year before for the Another Look book club (those events discussed here and here). But this year I will be mercifully silent, except for moderating one of the panels. (See schedule below.)

Here’s how it works: each author will make a brief presentation and be available for conversation and book signing. The even takes place Saturday, April 27, 2019, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Stanford Humanities Center, 424 Santa Teresa Street. The event is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served. Come when you can, stay as long as you like. The event has been called the literary equivalent of “speed-dating.”

This program is hosted as always by the genial Peter Stansky, emeritus Field Professor of History. Better yet, spend the entire afternoon in the company of these bright, entertaining, and stimulating writers.

At the event, the Stanford Bookstore will sell books at a 10 percent discount, and authors will sign copies. There will even be a few copies of Evolution of Desire at the event.

Here’s the line-up:

1:00 pm: Welcome (Peter Stansky) 

1:05-1:35 pm: War and Its Study
Peter Stansky, Chair
Joan Ramon Resina, Josep Pla: Seeing the World in the Form of Articles
Elena DanielsonHoover Tower at Stanford University
Lisa Nguyen, ed., We Shot the War: Overseas Weekly in Vietnam 

1:45-2:15 pm: The World Beyond
Cynthia Haven, Chair

Alexander Key, Language Between God and the Poets Ma’na in the Eleventh Century
Ari Y. Kelman, Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America
Fiona J. Griffiths, Nuns’ Priests’ Tales: Men and Salvation in the Medieval Women’s Monastic Life 

2:25-2:55 pm: The Wider World
Larry Horton, Chair
Rob Reich, Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better
John L. HennessyLeading Matters: Lessons from My Journey
Francis Fukuyama, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment

3:05-3:45 pm: History Here and There
Paul Robinson, Chair
David Como, Radical Parliamentarians and the English Civil War
Jonathan Gienapp, The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era
Ana Raquel Minian, Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration
James T. Campbell, Mississippi Witness: The Photographs of Florence Mars 

3:55-4:25 pm: Poetry, Feminism, and Design
Charles Junkerman, Chair

Karen Offen, Debating the Woman Question in the French Third Republic, 1870-1920
Albert Gelpi and Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi, Adrienne Rich: Selected Poems, 1950-2012 and Adrienne Rich’s Poetry and Prose
Ge Wang, Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime 

4:30-5:00 pm: Fictions
Tania Granoff, Chair
Daniel Mason, The Winter Soldier
Jennifer deVere Brody, ed. of James Baldwin’s Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood
Peter Stansky, afterword of Elisabeth de Waal’s Milton Place 

This program is co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the Stanford Humanities Center, with special thanks to the Stanford Bookstore. 

“A Company of Authors” is back! An exciting afternoon of lively authors, fascinating books, and “Evolution of Desire”!

Monday, April 16th, 2018

See the second name from the top on the poster above? That’s Humble Moi. You can call me “Moi” for short. And I am personally inviting you to come to “A Company of Authors,” Prof. Peter Stansky‘s celebration of recent books by Stanford authors at the Stanford Humanities Center – this Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 5:15 p.m. (I know, I know… the poster above says 5 p.m. Keep reading…)

Patrick Hunt at the Stanford Bookstore.

Like the Another Look book club, it’s Stanford’s gift to the community. It’s free, and all members of the community are welcome. I’ve written about previous years here and here and here and here. Usually, I moderate the panel for poets; a few years ago, I gave a pitch for Another Look instead (my comments here), and seven years ago I presented my book, An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz. This year, I will be attending as an author, discussing my brand-new Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard.

Here’s the thing: you can drop by to hear the twenty-one authors discuss their event (schedule of speakers below or here) at any time during the afternoon, and leave when you wish. Some people stay the whole afternoon. Some people come late. Some people come at the beginning and leave early. Please don’t do that! Gaze at the schedule below. I am the very last speaker. Please, please stay to the very end! Wait and talk to me afterwards! I want to meet you! I want to sign your books! (Oh, and the Stanford Bookstore attends, too, selling all the books at a discount. We want you to buy lots.)

Moreover, the last panel has a terrific team, presenting some memorable characters: Stanford archaeologist Patrick Hunt presenting his new book, Hannibal. And Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin discussing thirteenth-century Leonardo da Pisa, the subject of his Finding Fibonacci: The Quest to Rediscover the Forgotten Mathematical Genius Who Changed the World .  And I will discuss on a very modern hero, Stanford’s René Girard, the French theorist who wrote about human imitation, envy, violence, and scapegoating.

Peter Stansky, author of many volumes on modern British history, assures me that the final spot to anchor the day is a position of honor. So please come see me crowned in glory. I’ll be waiting for you. And I’ve highlighted and hyperlinked some of the other authors who have been featured in these pages on the schedule below (please note: Steve Zipperstein has had to cancel his attendance).

Marilyn Yalom signing books

Now you will ask why does the poster that was used in publicity list the event as ending  at 5 p.m., yet the schedule below ends at 5:05 p.m., and elsewhere it says 5:15 p.m. That’s because we noticed that the last panel was five minutes short, and that means we’d all be talking awfully, awfully fast. So the panel ends at 5:05. But after that, we expect you’ll all want to head into the lobby, drink more tea and eat more cookies, buy more books, and many of the authors will be chatting and lingering and longing to sign your books till 5:15 or so. In fact, the hubbub and conversation in the lobby after it’s all finished is one of the funnest things of all.

Come when you can. Stay as long as you can. It’s always lively, informative, and thought-provoking.


1:00 pm Welcome (Peter Stansky)

1:05 pm – 1:35 pm The Wide Range of History
Peter Stansky, Chair
Nancy Kollmann, The Russian Empire 1450–1801
Mikael D. Wolfe, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico
Thomas S. Mullaney, The Chinese Typewriter: A History

1:40 pm – 2:10 pm Killing and Controlling the Population
Paul Robinson, Chair
Carolyn Chappell Lougee, Facing the Revocation
Philippa Levine, Eugenics

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm Considering Life
Tania Granoff, Chair
Peter N. CarrollAn Elegy for Lovers
Irvin D. YalomBecoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir

2:50 pm – 3:20 pm Life and Love
Edith Gelles, Chair
Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci, Contraceptive Diplomacy
Karen Offen, The Woman Question in France, 1400–1870
Marilyn YalomThe Amorous Heart: An Unconventional History of Love

3:25 pm – 3:55 pm The Former British Empire
Kristin Mann, Chair
Jack RakoveA Politician Thinking: The Creative Mind of James Madison
Priya Satia, Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution
Aidan Forth, Barbed-Wire Imperialism: Britain’s Empire of Camps, 1876–1903

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm The Many Worlds of Stanford
Larry Horton, Chair

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm The Many Worlds of Stanford
Larry Horton, Chair
Tom DeMund, Walking the Farm
Peter Stansky et al., The Stanford Senate of the Academic Council
Robin Kennedy on behalf of Donald Kennedy, A Place in the Sun: A Memoir

4:35 pm – 5:05 pm Rich Lives
Charles Junkerman, Chair
Patrick HuntHannibal
Keith Devlin, Finding Fibonacci
Cynthia Haven, Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard

This event is co-sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the Stanford Humanities Center, with special thanks to the Stanford Bookstore.

Be there! “A Company of Authors” talks books, books, books on Saturday, April 22

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

booksFor most of the nation, if not world, this Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day. But a hundred or so people will be fêting a different sort of pleasure this weekend, when “A Company of Authors” celebrates books and those who write them for the fourteenth consecutive year. The gathering will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Earth Day, in Levinthall Hall at the Stanford Humanities Center at 424 Santa Teresa Street on the Stanford campus.

“It’s exhilarating to hear from their creators of the extraordinary and varied works of rich scholarship and imagination that come into being at this University. Be part of the excitement!” says History Prof. Peter Stansky, who hosts the event every year (we’ve written about the Orwell scholar‘s own literary achievements here and here and here).

An impressive group of Stanford writers will be discussing their recently published books, on panels moderated by people who are wise and gifted writers in their own right. (Let me dissemble no longer, Gentle Reader, one of the moderators will be Humble Moi.) Each author will make a brief presentation, read from his or her book, and be on hand for improving conversation and book-signing. Light refreshments will be available to sate those weak souls for whom words are not enough.


Our host invites you.

Naturally, Stanford Bookstore will be on hand, too, eagerly flogging the books under discussion – and a few more. The books will be offered at a 10% discount for the event – another enticement.

Drop in, or even better, indulge yourself by spending the entire afternoon in the company of these bright, entertaining, and stimulating writers. History, poetry, law, and other worlds will be under discussion – and our genial host will be presenting a book of his own, his most recent Edward Upward: Art and Life.

And come up and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you!

Here’s the schedule:

1:00 pm Welcome Remarks (Peter Stansky)

1:05 pm – 1:35 pm The Humanities Center Writes! 

Caroline Winterer, Chair

Zephyr Frank, Reading Rio de Janerio

Scott Bukatman, Hellboy’s World: Comics and Monsters on the Margins

Norman Naimark, Genocide

1:40 pm – 2:20 pm Historians at Work

Paul Robinson, Chair

Caroline Winterer, American Enlightenments

Steven Press, Rogue Empires

Walter Scheidel, The Great Leveler

Amalia D. Kessler, Inventing American Exceptionalism

2:25 pm – 2:45 pm Poetry Forever

Cynthia Haven, Chair

Peter Neil Carroll, The Truth Lies on Earth: A Year by Dark, by Bright

Stina Katchadourian, Trans. Edith Södergran: Love, Solitude and the Face of Death

2:50 pm – 3:20 pm Law and Life

Larry Horton, Chair

Paul Blanc, Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon

Hank Greely, The End of Sex

Barbara Babcock, Fish Raincoats

3:25 pm – 3:55 pm Other Worlds

Tania Granoff, Chair

Stephen Orgel, The Reader in the Book

Millicent Dillon ed., Jane Bowles: Collected Writings (The Library of America)

Margo Davis, Antigua: Photographs 1967-1973

4:00 pm – 4:20 pm The Built World

Peter Stansky, Chair

Marian Adams et. al., Historic Stanford Houses Vol VII

Paul V. Turner, Frank Lloyd Wright and San Francisco

4:25 pm – 5:00 pm Stanford and Beyond

Charles Junkerman, Chair

Alison Carpenter Davis, Letters Home from Stanford

Robert Cherny, Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art

Peter Stansky, Edward Upward: Art and Life

The Stanford book club that rocks the news

Friday, April 22nd, 2016


Toby Wolff’s Another Look send-off last spring. (Photo: David Schwartz)

Author Peter Stansky‘s “A Company of Authors,” the annual event where Stanford authors present their books, had its best day ever last Saturday. As I told Stanford Report“The author presentations were eloquent and excellent, without exception, and the audience questions ensured the discussion was spirited and intelligent.” And longtime Hoover fellow Paul Caringella even gave an impromptu pitch for my forthcoming René Girard biography. What’s not to like?

“I always find these occasions extremely exhilarating,” Peter said. “The heart of the university is the life of the mind and you could not have a better example of that than in the books that their authors presented here today.”

Well, you can read the whole thing here. Nearly everyone stayed through all the presentations, and the excited and audible buzz in the lobby afterwards told the story.

And I told a story, too, during my ten-minute solo for “The Wonderful World of Books at Stanford.” Peter introduced me as “the leading figure at Stanford in keeping us involved in so many exciting ways in the world of books.” So I took up the cause of the Another Look book club it has been my privilege to manage for four years. Here’s what I said:

I’m here to tell you the Another Look story. It’s a good story, and I’ve been proud to be part of it. I think you’ll like it because it’s a story about books finding their people.


Founder Tobias Wolff. (Photo: David Schwartz)

Four years ago, the distinguished author Tobias Wolff – who was recently named a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts – approached me with an idea: he wanted to create a forum where members of the community would interact with Stanford writers, scholars, and literary figures in the world beyond, to talk about the books they love. He wanted the first book to be a beloved favorite, William Maxwells So Long See You Tomorrow. He asked me if I could make all this happen. Frankly, I have to say, I was doubtful. The term “book club” did not have good associations for me. But as we hashed it out, I realized my issues were two-fold: first, I figured most people, like me, didn’t have the hours and hours to read long books of other people’s choosing; and second, the books tended to be mainstream, middlebrow, middle-of-the-road “safe” choices.

Inspired by Maxwell’s novel, we decided that we would focus on short books – short enough for Bay Area professionals who are pressed for time, and who may spend their days going through legal briefs or medical documents. Also, we would focus on books that were forgotten, overlooked, or simply haven’t received the audience they merit. We would call it “Another Look.” It would be for people who wanted to be part of the world of books and literature – a world they may have lost touch with once they left university. They would be connoisseurs’ choices for books you must read – discussed and even championed by the people who love them.

Not delusional. (Photo: Nancy Crampton)

Nobless oblige. (Photo: Nancy Crampton)

We had a full house the first night, and our audiences have been steadily climbing upward ever since. One highpoint: for Philip Roth‘s The Ghost Writer, we were joined by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. It was the only time to date we have had a living author. And although he had become something of a recluse, I decided to see if I could interview him. The subsequent Q&A was published on The Book Haven and republished in La Repubblica, Le Monde, and Die Welt. It made the international press, and the high-profile Another Look was featured in The Guardian.

Toby retired … or said he was going to retire … last year (he was recalled for another year, but that’s another story). When we announced that Another Look was going to close shop a year ago, we got record numbers of people attending our event for Albert Camus‘s The Stranger – a book, Toby claimed, that was more honored than read. One member in the audience, the acclaimed author Robert Pogue Harrison, stepped forward that night to offer to assume the directorship of the program. We’ve developed subscribers’ list pushing up to 1,400. Our February’s event with Werner Herzog at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, discussing J.A. Baker‘s The Peregrine, is now on youtube, in both highlights and full-length version. (The event was covered by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Caille Millner here.) The repercussions of that powerful book event will continue to unfold in the months to come.

Legendary film director Werner Herzog discusses J.A. Baker's book The Peregrine at the Feb. 2 Another Look book club event.

Legendary film director Werner Herzog discusses J.A. Baker’s book The Peregrine at the Feb. 2 Another Look book club event. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

It’s been enormously gratifying for me personally to be the point of contact with all of you in our book-loving Bay Area community – and sometimes around the nation and world, too. We have one aficionado driving in from Carmel – others write from far-flung places to tell me they’re reading along with us. And Toby has talked about this program, during his speaking engagements around the country. He’s proud of his brainchild, too.

Why am I so keen on this program? Because it’s rocked my world. Those who know me as a literary journalist know that I’ve sunk my time into the world of Eastern European poets, particularly Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz, and more recently, into the French theorist René Girard, a longtime Stanford faculty member, a dear friend, and the subject of my biography. Hence, there are huge holes in my knowledge of modern fiction, and particularly American fiction. Without too much investment of time, I’ve caught up with a lot of writers I’d somehow missed. No membership fees, no meetings with minutes, no commitments – just show up, please!

So please join us next month, on Tuesday, May 10, at the Bechtel Conference Center, when we discuss Joseph Conrads novella The Shadow-Line. The story will run in Stanford Report Monday and be on the Stanford news website – we have books in the lobby. Meanwhile, take some freshly minted bookmarks – and take a few for your friends who might be interested, too.