Award-winning author David Marshall will speak about his book, "Forgetting Fathers: Untold Stories from an Orphaned Past," which has been described by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as an “un-forgettable detective story born in a deeply felt, personal quest to solve the mystery of his grandfather’s name.” Marshall weaves together the stories of his grandfather and great-grandfather with his own quest to solve the mystery of his family’s past. Beginning as a search for his lost family name, he seeks to understand the origins of his grandfather, who spent part of his childhood in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of the City of New York. He also reconstructs the life and death of his great-grandfather, a Russian immigrant tailor who lived on the Lower East Side and died at age thirty-six in a private sanitarium dedicated to the treatment of mental and nervous diseases.In addition to discussing his book, Marshall will talk about the compulsion to search for life stories and the challenge of reconstructing family histories from public documents, historical records, family stories, and memories, especially when families preferred to forget rather than remember their pasts.
David Marshall is Professor of English and Comparativte Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he previously taught at Yale University. Marshall has published widely on the history of the novel, aesthetics, and autobiography. Marshall also has lectured widely and published on issues in higher education. He is President of the National Humanities Alliance.
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