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Author James Herriot subject of July 16 lecture by SU English professor Sanford Sternlicht
Author James Herriot subject of July 16 lecture by SU English professor Sanford SternlichtJuly 07, 2009Rob Enslinrmenslin@syr.edu
James Herriot, the great animal writer from England and author of the best-selling “All Creatures Great and Small,” is the subject of a forthcoming lecture by Sanford Sternlicht G’62 at the Northern Onondaga Public Library at North Syracuse (100 Trolley Barn Lane). The lecture, titled “All Things Herriot: James Herriot and His Peaceable Kingdom,” will be held Thursday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public, and is part of the “Speakers in the Humanities” series, sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities. For more information, call the library at (315) 458-6184.
Sternlicht, who is professor of English in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was recently appointed Speaker in the Humanities through 2012. As part of his appointment, he is giving a series of free lectures statewide drawing on similarly titled books he has written. Sternlicht’s “All Things Herriot” (SU Press, 1995), on which his July lecture is based, is described as a comprehensive overview of the author’s works, skillfully interwoven with facts about his life. “Herriot’s message was that suffering is a perennial challenge of all humanity,” he says. “Our response to suffering is ultimately how we, as a society and as individuals, will be judged.”
James Herriot was the pen name of James Alfred “Alf” Wight, an accomplished veterinary surgeon and author. For more than two decades, he published a series of semi-autobiographical stories, of which “All Creatures Great and Small” (1972) and “The Lord God Made Them All” (1981) were the best known. The former was made into a critically acclaimed movie and BBC television series in 1975 and 1978, respectively. Herriot garnered many honors and awards during his lifetime, including membership in the Order of the British Empire, and inspired the posthumous creation of the World of James Herriot, the only veterinary science museum in the United Kingdom.
A prolific author and scholar, Sternlicht is an expert in 20th-century American, British and Irish literature; U.S. immigration literature; and drama. He has published several books of original poetry, as well as written and edited more than two dozen books on literary and dramatic criticism. The success of two of his non-fiction books, “The Tenement Saga” (Terrace Books, 2004) and “All Things Herriot,” factored largely in his selection as Speaker in the Humanities and has kept him busy on other fronts, participating in conferences, symposia and alumni events around the country. “This is what Scholarship in Action is all about,” says the former Navy Reserve commander, referring to SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor’s signature vision for SU. “I love to make literature come alive.” Sternlicht joined SU in 1981, after a 30-year appointment at the SUNY College of Oswego.
Other Herriot lectures by Sternlicht will take place at the Cape Vincent Community Library, Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m., and at the Petit Branch of the Onondaga County Public Library, Saturday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m.
Launched in 1983, the Speakers in the Humanities Program brings the best in humanities scholarship to hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout New York state. The New York Council for the Humanities, founded in 1975, covers the cost of each speaker’s honorarium and travel expenses. For a list of speakers and more information, visit http://www.nyhumanities.org/speakers/adult_audiences/.