Season 3 October 20-30th 2011

Siri Hustvedt

Novelist / Essayist  |  United States
Siri Hustvedt - © Witi de Tera, Opale
© Witi de Tera, Opale
Siri Hustvedt was born in 1955 in Northfield, a small town in southern Minnesota. Hustvedt earned a BA in history from St Olaf College, then studied English in Columbia, where she was also a research assistant to the poet Kenneth Koch. She received her PhD in 1986, and wrote her dissertation on “Figures of Dust: Language and Identity in Charles Dickens”. After publishing a book of poem, Reading to You (Station Hill Press, 1983) she turned to fiction and began to work on her first novel, The Blindfold, two sections of which were published in literary magazines as stories and later reprinted in Best American Short Stories 1991 and 1992. The novel was published in the United States by the now defunct Poseidon Press in 1992 and was translated into seventeen languages. Hustvedt has published four more novels, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, What I Loved, The Sorrows of an American, and The Summer Without Men. What I Loved, published in 2003, was an international bestseller. Her novels have now been translated into twenty-nine languages.
Husdvedt is also interested in art, a topic which she began writing about in 1995 when Karen Wright, then the publisher of Modern Painters, asked her to chose a single painting in the exhibition Johannes Vermeer at the National Gallery in Washington. The essay “Vermeer’s Annunciation” argued for a reading of Woman with a Pearl Necklace as an Annunciation rather than a Eucharistic image and permanently altered scholarly perceptions of the image. She has continued to write about art and, in 2006, published a collection of her writing on art with Princeton Architectural Press, Mysteries of the Rectangle. Besides the pieces in that volume, she has written catalogue essays for Richard Allen Morris, Kiki Smith, and Gerhard Richter, published essays on Louise Bourgeois and Annette Messager for The Guardian newspaper in London, and lectured at the Prado and Metropolitan Museums. In 2010 she is be the Schelling Professor of Art at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste (The Academy of the Visual Arts) in Munich.

Siri Hustvedt will participate in:
« Conscious and Unconscious Narrative — Literature, Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience », discussion, Thursday, October 27th, The Maison Française / Columbia University.

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”  Isaac Newton