On Consolation: Finding solace in dark times Michael Ignatieff
Internationally renowned historian of ideas and Booker Prize finalist Michael Ignatieff presents timely and profound philosophical meditations on how great figures in history, literature, music and art searched for solace while facing tragedies and crises.
When we lose someone we love, when we suffer loss or defeat, when catastrophe strikes - war, famine, pandemic - we go in search of consolation. Once the province of priests and philosophers, the language of consolation has largely vanished from our modern vocabulary, and the places where it was offered - houses of religion - are often empty. Rejecting the solace of ancient religious texts, humanity since the sixteenth century has increasingly placed its faith in science, ideology and the therapeutic.
How do we console each other and ourselves in an age of unbelief? In a series of meditations on writers, artists, musicians and their works - from the books of Job and Psalms to Albert Camus, Anna Akhmatova and Primo Levi - esteemed writer and historian Michael Ignatieff shows how people in extremity have looked to each other across time to recover hope and resilience.
Recreating the moments when great figures found the courage to confront their fate and the determination to continue unafraid, Michael takes those stories into the present, movingly contending that we can revive these traditions of consolation to meet the anguish and uncertainties of our precarious twenty-first century.
This is a hybrid event that you can either attend in person or join via Zoom. You’ll receive a link to join via Zoom a couple of days before the event takes place and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via the Zoom Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.
You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too.
About the speaker
Michael Ignatieff is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, among other publications, and the author of many acclaimed books, including Blood and Belonging, Isaiah Berlin, Virtual War, The Warrior’s Honor and The Russian Album. He teaches history at Central European University in Vienna.