The Grand Illuminations: Speaking from the Heart lecture series will conclude for 2021-22 with Scott Richardson, classics professor at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, delivering “O Rocks, Tell Us in Plain Words” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Quad 264 at SJU.
Richardson will retire at the end of the spring semester after a distinguished career, one filled with legions of students who adored his Great Books and James Joyce courses, along with so many students who pursued Latin and Greek with him. This public lecture has the extra-special appeal of being his final lecture to the community, and appropriately, he will engage with some of his favorite themes and works of literature.
As Richardson says, “As a literal-minded and rather gullible fellow, I live with the conviction that language is supposed to convey clearly what the speaker means and that appearances should reflect reality. But personal interactions keep throwing me for a loop. A good portion of regular conversation and public discourse uses language in ways that imply, alter, obscure and even totally contradict the truth behind the utterance.”
Look for Richardson to illuminate how people don’t always mean what they say or say what they mean and expect to delight in the twists and turns.
Tony Cunningham, philosophy professor at CSB and SJU and organizer of the Grand Illuminations series thinks it’s only fitting that Richardson’s last lecture should wrestle with themes of manipulation and trickery.
“From Homer’s silver-tongued Odysseus to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Mr. Stevens, Scott has always been powerfully drawn to fascinating, complex characters who often try so hard to understand themselves, but just as often pull the wool over people, sometimes even themselves,” Cunningham said. “Students who have been fortunate enough to plumb the depths of these characters with Scott Richardson for all these years have been very fortunate. They’ll not see the likes of Scott soon again. Be sure to come, for this is the droid you’re looking for.”
The Grand Illuminations series is made possible by a generous donation from Bill Pelfrey, SJU ’88, and Steve Halverson, SJU ’76. The series will be back for 2022-23 with a full slate of six engaging lectures.
The events are always free, and all are welcome.