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The Annual Reeves Lecture with Jeffrey Hammond
"The Sense of an Ending: Some Reflections on the End of the World"
Though alleged Mayan predictions that the world is coming to an end this December have alarmed lots of people, such concern is nothing new. People have always pondered the end of the world -- and throughout history, many have convinced themselves that it's right around the corner. Why has the apocalyptic mindset been so persistent in Western thought? And why do we still find predictions of the End so fascinating, even irresistible? This talk explores these questions by raising the possibility that End-Time scenarios are natural expressions of the human obsession with story -- and with revenge.
Jeffrey Hammond, Reeves Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts and Professor of English, has taught literature and writing at St. Mary's College since 1990. He has published numerous scholarly articles and three books on early American literature, including The American Puritan Elegy: A Literary and Cultural Study (Cambridge University Press, 2000). In his other life as a creative writer, his literary nonfiction has won two Pushcart Prizes, Shenandoah's Carter Prize for Essay, and the Missouri Review Editors' Prize, and has appeared in such journals as American Scholar, Ohio Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Magazine, Gettysburg Review, and Fourth Genre. His nonfiction books include Ohio States: A Twentieth-Century Midwestern (Kent State University Press, 2002), Small Comforts: Essays at Middle Age (Kent State University Press, 2008), and Little Big World: Collecting Louis Marx and the American Fifties (University of Iowa Press, 2010). He has reflected on the College and its mission in This Place Where We Are (St. Mary's Press, 2006).