Join us on Tuesday, April 16, at 6:00 PM as Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (author of The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography) joins George Saunders (via video chat) in conversation about Saunders’s award-winning 2017 novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
The novel unfolds in a graveyard over the course of a single night and is narrated by a chorus of voices that is inspired by President Lincoln’s grief over the death of his eleven-year-old son, Willie, in 1862 and his repeated visits to the cemetery crypt to hold his boy’s body. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory — called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo. Within this transitional state, where ghosts mingle, gripe, and commiserate, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
The event is free and open to the public.
Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. He specializes in late Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, and is the author of numerous books, including A Study of Svātantrika, The Heart Sutra Explained: Indian and Tibetan Commentaries, and Elaborations on Emptiness: Uses of the Heart Sutra.
George Saunders is the author of nine books, including Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won the inaugural Folio Prize (for the best work of fiction in English) and the Story Prize (best short story collection). He has received MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN/Malamud Prize for excellence in the short story, and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.
This event is the first in a three-night series called Bardo Now, held in conjunction with the exhibition The Second Buddha: Master of Time.
Tuesday, April 16, 6:00 PM: Donald S. Lopez, Jr. and George Saunders on Lincoln in the Bardo
Programming for The Second Buddha was coordinated by Associate Professor of Asian Studies Benjamin Bogin through the Skidmore Faculty Scholar Residency, which is co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning and the Office of the Dean of Special Programs; and the Tang Teaching Museum.