A is for asteroids

An early fascination with horror films and decades of teaching courses on Gothic fiction inspired Boston College English Professor Paul Lewis to write A Is for Asteroids, Z Is for Zombies: A Bedtime Book about the Coming Apocalypse (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017), a darkly comic fable that offers a vision of the apocalypse for every letter of the alphabet. Written in the popular genre of adult humor books that look like children’s literature, and accompanied by fantastically gory illustrations by Ken Lamug, the story begins when a young boy asks his father questions about asteroids and other global dangers. After the boy falls asleep, the father picks up and starts to read a book the boy was given that claims to offer “help for daddies and mommies [as] the first children’s book about end times and zombies.” The book-within-the-book, enumerates the many ways civilization might end and, according to the publisher, offers gallows humor for our doom-haunted times. An Edgar Allan Poe scholar, Lewis will give a reading from his new book at the Boston Public Library on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., in the Commonwealth Salon. He is also the author of Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict.

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Poet Billy Collins

The Lowell Humanities Series will present former United States Poet Laureate (2001-03) Billy Collins on Oct. 4 at  7:00 p.m. in Gasson Hall, Room 100. Collins has published more than 10 collections of poetry, most recently The Rain in Portugal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals, including The New YorkerThe Paris Review, and The American Scholar. Acclaimed by readers and critics alike, Collins has been called “the most popular poet in America” (New York Times) and “America’s favorite poet” (Wall Street Journal). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.”

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Jesuit mysticism

In A Companion to Jesuit Mysticism (Brill Publishers, 2017), editor Robert A. Maryks presents 13 essays on the Jesuit mystical tradition, a somewhat neglected aspect of Jesuit historiography that stretches as far back as Ignatius of Loyola, his spiritual visions at Manresa, and ultimately the mystical perspective contained in his Spiritual Exercises. Maryks is an associate director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies and editor of Jesuit Sources at BC. Among the contributors to A Companion to Jesuit Mysticism are Professor Emeritus of Systematic and Mystical Theology Harvey D. Egan, S.J. and Assistant Professor of Theology Andrew Prevot. Fr. Egan’s essay is on “Karl Rahner (1904-84) and His Mystical Theology.” Prevot contributed “Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) and Contemporary Mystical Theology.” | Fr. Egan has also written a piece for The Renewal of Mystical Theology: Essays in Memory of John N. Jones (Crossroad Publishing, 2017), titled “The Eschatological Consciousness of the Christian Mystics,” and three essays for Nuovo Dizionario di Mistica (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2016).  In addition, Fr. Egan is the presenter on two CD series: “Karl Rahner: Theological Giant of the Twentieth Century” and “The Christian Mystical Tradition.”

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Pagan Kennedy: Inventology

Award-winning writer Pagan Kennedy will talk about her most recent book, Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change The World, on Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in Devlin Hall, Room 101. In Inventology, Kennedy writes about inventors and the imagination and creativity behind their innovations. Kennedy has written 11 books and her writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, where she wrote the “Innovation/Who Made That?” column. She is the recipient of NEA, a Smithsonian, and Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowships. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series.

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David McCullough

Historian and author David McCullough, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, will give a talk on Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. in Robsham Theater. He has written books on Harry S. Truman, John Adams, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Wright brothers, among other topics. He is also a narrator, most notably of “The Civil War” by Ken Burns and the feature film “Seabiscuit.” His books, Truman and John Adams, have been adapted by HBO into a TV film and a miniseries, respectively. Boston College presented McCullough with an honorary degree at Commencement 2008. His speech from that day is included in the new book, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand Fora collection of his talks from the past 25 years. Note: Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and seating is based on a first-come, first-served basis. A book signing precedes his talk at 3 p.m. Sponsor: Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics/Clough Colloquium.

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The inner experience

University of Nevada Professor of Psychology Russell Hurlburt will present “Exploring Inner Experience: Implications for Psychology and Neuroscience” on Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 305. Hurlburt is co-author of Describing Inner Experience?: Proponent Meets Skeptic, in which he and his co-author (a philosopher) debate to what extent it is possible for a person to describe his or her inner experience accurately. Sponsor: The Boston College Lonergan Institute.

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Scalia’s Constitution

R. Shep Melnick, the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Professor of American Politics, is among the legal scholars, philosophers, and political scientists who have contributed to the new book Scalia’s Constitution: Essays on Law and Education (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2017). The book, edited by Paul Peterson and Michael McConnell, looks at how education and law intersect through the late Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s rulings. Scalia’s Constitution explores the application of Scalia’s textualism and originalism to education law and reflects upon Scalia’s teachings and his pedagogy. Melnick’s contributed article is titled “Scalia’s Dilemmas as a Conservative Jurist.” | Melnick will serve as a panelist at a Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance-sponsored discussion of Scalia’s Constitution on September 15, hosted by the Hoover Institution in Washington, D.C. The discussion will be streamed live at 11:00 a.m.

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