‘Father and Sons: Edmund Gosse and J. R. Ackerley’
Fri, March 8, 2013 • 2:45 PM - 4:30 PM • Tom Lea Rooms, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center 3.206
Steven Isenberg QUONDAM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PEN
Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907) and J. R. Ackerley’s My Father and Myself (1968) are compelling memoirs of the father and son genre by two accomplished men of letters. The theme is the burden of the secrets and mysteries, what was unspoken between father and son. Gosses’s evolution is one of an enclosed childhood to his own individuality. The shaping of Joe Ackerley’s identity and sexuality, is set out with touching candor. Both autographicalworks are distinguished in intelligence, style, and honesty. They speak of other times, but they have an enduring claim in how they take up matters of fathers and sons.
Until recently Steven Isenberg has been the executive director of PEN, the human rights organizationdedicated to free expression and the promotion of literature. A life-long English major, he worked as Mayor John Lindsay’s chief of staff in the 1960s. He later became Executive Vice-President of the Los Angeles Times. He has taught legendary courses in the UT Liberal Arts Honors Program on twentieth-century British and American literature, literary journalism, and Watergate.