Thursday, April 1, 2010
7:30 - 8:30 pm
Rawles Hall, room 100
W. J. T. Mitchell, the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, will deliver "Idolatry: Nietzsche, Blake, Poussin" as part of the Patten Lecture Series.
In his lecture on April 1, Mitchell will examine the diagnosis of the return of idolatry and its evil twin, iconoclasm, in contemporary global political culture, and especially in the contemporary tendency to conceive of war in religious, Manichean terms, as a struggle between good and evil. Working through the transvaluations of the idolatry/iconoclasm complex in the philosophy of Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols and Thus Spake Zarathustra) and the paintings of William Blake, the lecture stages a re-reading of Nicholas Poussin's classic scenes of idolatry in "The Adoration of the Golden Calf" (London: National Gallery) and "The Plague at Ashdod" (Paris, The Louvre).