Christoph Irmscher, Professor of English at Indiana University at Bloomington, will present the lecture, Lives of the Birds: Audubon and the Problems of Scientific Biography. The lecture will be held on September 5 at 5 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor of Bird Library. It directly precedes the opening of the Libraries’ fall exhibition, John James Audubon and the American Landscape.
Audubon’s colorful life, which took him from Haiti to France to the United States, has attracted almost as much attention as his life-sized portraits of birds engaged in all sorts of spectacular activities. Drawing on Audubon’s own representations of the lives of birds, in his images and his writings, as well on his own recent attempts in the genre of life-writing, Christoph Irmscher shows how Audubon used ornithology as a form of covert autobiography.
Irmscher, a native of Germany, is widely recognized as the leading authority on Audubon. He is the editor of the Library of America edition of Audubon’s Writings and Drawings. He is the author of the recent biography, Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science (2013), and of several other books on subjects ranging from natural history writing (The Poetics of Natural History, 1999) to the life of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Longfellow Redux, 2008, and Public Poet, Private Man, 2009.) His work has been supported by the National Endowment of the Humanities, most recently for summer institutes on Audubon held at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, in 2009 and 2011.
Irmscher will also present a companion mini-seminar on September 6, 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Special Collections Research Center on the 6th floor of Bird Library. The mini‐seminar is free and open to the public, however advance registration is required. To register, contact Barbara Brooker at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 315‐443‐9763.