Robert Pogue Harrison

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Robert Pogue Harrison (born in 1954 in Izmir, Turkey) is a professor of literature at Stanford University, where he is Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature in the Department of French & Italian. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2007.

Harrison received his doctorate in Romance Studies from Cornell University in 1984. In 1985, he accepted a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford. In 1986, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He was granted tenure in 1992, and was promoted to full professor in 1995. In 1997, Stanford offered him the Rosina Pierotti Chair. In 2002, he was named chair of the Department of French and Italian, which he continued to be until 2010.

He began his academic career as a Dante scholar, publishing The Body of Beatrice in 1988. His work quickly expanded to concern itself broadly with the Western literary and philosophical tradition, focusing on the human place in nature and what he calls "the humic foundations" of human culture.

In 1992 he published Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, a wide-ranging history of the religious, mythological, literary, and philosophical role of forests in the Western imagination.

In 2003 he published The Dominion of the Dead, in which he probes the relations the living have maintained with the dead in a number of secular domains, among them burial places, houses, testaments, images, dreams, and political institutions.

In his book Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition (2008), Harrison focused on the role that care and cultivation play in human culture, arguing that gardens embody "the vocation of care" that defines the inner core of our humanity. Like his earlier books, Gardens offers a philosophically based vision of humanity's relation to the natural world that is founded on mortality and finitude.

His books have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Italian.

In addition to his academic books, he has also written many articles, chapters, and essays, including ones on figures such as Dante, Vico, and Nietzsche, as well as philosophical problems related to architecture, modernity, poetry, and nature. His own philosophical orientation reflects an enduring commitment to the phenomenological tradition.

He also contributed several essays to the New York Review of Books, to which he has been a regular contributor since 2009. He has written essays on John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Giacomo Leopardi, Dante Alighieri, Harold Bloom, the King James Bible, America's natural history, and Margaret Fuller.

In addition to his writing, he played lead guitar for the cerebral rock band Glass Wave, with whom he recorded an album in 2010.

He is also host of the radio program Entitled Opinions on Stanford's station KZSU 90.1. Entitled Opinions features hour-long conversations on topics of intellectual interest, including but not limited to history, literature, music, philosophy, and science. Most of his guests have been Stanford-affiliated thinkers, including René Girard, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Marjorie Perloff, Richard Rorty, and Michel Serres, but have sometimes been outside guests, such as Vinton Cerf, Shirley Hazzard, Orhan Pamuk, and Colm Toibin. He has also interviewed a number of prominent scientists, including Andrei Linde, Paul Ehrlich, and Michael Hendrickson.

Since 2005, Harrison has recorded over 140 episodes of Entitled Opinions (On Life and Literature). Episodes are available on the show's website as well as through iTunes as a podcast.

Bibliography[edit]

(with Michael R. Hendrickson, Robert B. Laughlin and Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht)

Awards, nominations and honours[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Congratulations, Robert Harrison, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française!