Join us as we celebrate our tenth anniversary with another wonderful and too-little-known book, Glenway Wescott's 1940 novella "The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story" (NYRB Classics). The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5, at Levinthal Hall in the Stanford Humanities Center, 424 Santa Teresa Street, on the Stanford campus. The event will also be offered in-person and virtually.
"The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story" traces a single afternoon in a French country house during the 1920s. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and sometime novelist, is staying with a friend outside Paris when a well-heeled Irish couple drops in — with Lucy, their trained hawk, a restless, sullen, disturbingly totemic presence. Lunch is prepared, drink flows, and the story that unfolds is both harrowing and farcical.
Novelist Michael Cunningham in his introduction calls the book "murderously precise and succinct." Critic and author Susan Sontag said, "The ever-astonishing Pilgrim Hawk belongs, in my view, among the treasures of twentieth-century literature, however untypical are its sleek, subtle vocabulary, the density of its attention to character, its fastidious pessimism, and the clipped worldliness of its point of view."
The panelists will include a special guest, Steve Wasserman, former book editor at the Los Angeles Times Book Review and editor at large for the Yale University Press, and now publisher of Heyday Books in Berkeley. Other panelists will include: Stanford Prof. Robert Pogue Harrison, author, director of Another Look, host of the radio talk show and podcast series Entitled Opinions, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books; Stanford Prof. Tobias Wolff, one of America's leading writers, a founding director of Another Look, and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Author Cynthia L. Haven, a National Endowment for the Humanities "Public Scholar," will round out the panel.