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Michael Ignatieff ~ On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times

Saturday, March 12, 2022
10:30am to 11:30am

Live Webinar
[In Pacific Time]


Internationally renowned historian of ideas and Booker Prize finalist Michael Ignatieff discusses On Consolation timely and profound philosophical meditations on how great figures in history, literature, music, and art searched for solace while facing tragedies and crises.

When we lose someone we love, when we suffer loss or defeat, when catastrophe strikes—war, famine, pandemic—we go in search of consolation. Once the province of priests and philosophers, the language of consolation has largely vanished from our modern vocabulary, and the places where it was offered, houses of religion, are often empty. Rejecting the solace of ancient religious texts, humanity since the sixteenth century has increasingly placed its faith in science, ideology, and the therapeutic.

How do we console each other and ourselves in an age of unbelief? In a series of portraits of writers, artists and musicians searching for consolation—from the books of Job and Psalms to Albert Camus, Anna Akhmatova, and Primo Levi—Ignatieff shows how men and women in extremity have looked to each other across time to recover hope and resilience. Recreating the moments when great figures found the courage to confront their fate and the determination to continue unafraid, On Consolation takes those stories into the present, contending that we can revive these traditions of consolation to meet the anguish and uncertainties of the twenty-first century.

"With On Consolation, we are gifted with deeply perceptive insights on eternal truths with a contemporary lens, toward a desperately-needed restoration of communal hope from Canada’s great intellectual powerhouse, Michael Ignatieff."

The Hon. Roméo Dallaire

Michael Ignatieff is former head of Canada’s Liberal Party, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard’s Kennedy School, President of Central European University, and current professor of History at CEU in Budapest. He has been named to the Order of Canada, is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, delivered the Massey Lectures, and holds thirteen honorary degrees. Michael Ignatieff is the author of 20 books of fiction and non-fiction, translated into 20 languages. He is a Booker Prize finalist and winner of the Governor General's Literary Award as well as the British Royal Society of Literature's Heinemann Prize. He has received a Gemini Award for his BBC documentary work. He writes regularly for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books.