The Lionel Trilling Seminar

Political Fiction, Ancient and Modern: From David’s Court to Fabrice’s Charterhouse

Monday, March 7, 2016  6:15pm Barnard Hall, Sulzberger Parlor, Third Floor


Free and open to the public

No registration necessary

First come, first seated

    Event Videos
    The Lionel Trilling Seminar: Political Fiction, Ancient and Modern: From David's Court to Fabrice's Charterhouse
    The Lionel Trilling Seminar Political Fiction, Ancient and Modern (Panel Highlight)

Robert Alter presents the next installment of the Lionel Trilling Seminar.  Herbert Marks and Michael Wood serve as respondents.

The David story and Stendhal's Charterhouse of Parma, the first narrative very early and the other relatively late in the Western literary tradition, are deeply instructive instances of how the vehicle of fiction can provide insights into the realm of politics.  Each in its own way shows the role individual character plays in the gaining and maintaining of power and how the exercise of power affects or distorts character.  The biblical story is compellingly grave, Stendhal's novel satiric and sometimes comic, but both manifest an unblinking vision of man as a political animal.


  • Lecture by

    Robert Alter

    Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature

    University of California at Berkeley

  • Respondents

    Herbert Marks

    Professor of Comparative Literature

    Indiana University

  • Michael Wood

    Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Emeritus

    Princeton University


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