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Literary Festival 2013: The Silence of Animals


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Speaker(s): Professor John Gray
Chair: Professor George Gaskell

Recorded on 28 February 2013 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

John Gray draws on an extraordinary array of memoirs, poems, fiction and philosophy to make us re-imagine our place in the world. Writers as varied as Ballard, Borges, Freud and Conrad are mesmerised by forms of human extremity - experiences on the outer edge of the possible, or which tip into fantasy and myth. What happens to us when we starve, when we fight, when we are imprisoned? And how do our imaginations leap into worlds way beyond our real experience?

In this lecture, John Gray will explore the conundrum of our existence - an existence which we decorate with countless myths and ideas, where we twist and turn to avoid acknowledging that we too are animals, separated from the others perhaps only by our self-conceit. In the Babel we have created for ourselves, it is the silence of animals that both reproaches and bewitches us.

John Gray is emeritus professor of European thought at LSE, and author of Straw Dogs, The Immortalization Commission and The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths.

This event forms part of LSE's 5th Space for Thought Literary Festival, taking place from Tuesday 26 February - Saturday 2 March 2013, with the theme 'Branching Out'.

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