Copperfield's Books welcomes Martin Puchner for a virtual event in celebration of his new book - Culture: The Story of Us, from Cave Art to K-Pop.
The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.
In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.
What good are the arts? Why should we care about the past? For millennia, humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations not just the “know-how” of life, but the “know-why”—the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy. This crucial passing down of knowledge has required the radical integration of insights from the past and from other cultures. In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.
From Nefertiti’s lost city to the plays of Wole Soyinka; from the theaters of ancient Greece to Chinese travel journals to Arab and Aztec libraries; from a South Asian statuette found at Pompeii to a time capsule left behind on the Moon, Puchner tells the gripping story of human achievement through our collective losses and rediscoveries, power plays and heroic journeys, innovations, imitations, and appropriations. More than a work of history, Culture is an archive of humanity’s most monumental junctures and a guidebook for the future of us humans as a creative species. Witty, erudite, and full of wonder, Puchner argues that the humanities are (and always have been) essential to the transmission of knowledge that drives the efforts of human civilization.
Culture is a breakneck, utterly captivating survey of the cultural transmission of ideas, stories, and songs—how they survive, change, vanish, and are borrowed, refined, coopted, and grafted through time. Reading this book was like taking a course in the history of humanities from a world-class professor with a rapacious, global, up-to-the-minute curiosity. I underlined sentences on every page.
— Anthony Doerr, author of Cloud Cuckoo Land
Martin Puchner’s timely book takes us on a breathtaking tour of world history, reminding us that as we judge the past, one day we, too, will be judged, and that when we ignore or try to erase our cultural heritage, we are only impoverishing ourselves.
— Louis Menand, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Metaphysical Club
Author: Martin Puchner is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. His prize-winning books and anthologies range from philosophy to the arts. His best-selling Norton Anthology of World Literature and his HarvardX online course have brought 4000 years of literature to students across the globe. His book The Written World, a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and has been translated into some twenty languages. His book, The Language of Thieves, interweaves family memoir with a reflection on Rotwelsch, the underground language of Central Europe, which he learned from his father and uncle. His new book, Culture: The Story of Us from Cave Art to K-Pop tells the history of humanity through the lens of culture. He is a member of the European Academy and has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Cullman Fellowship, the Berlin Prize, and the Massachusetts Book Award.