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January 29, 2011
Maira Kalman, Daniel Handler, Barbara Cassin, Sophie Wahnich
Hosted by: Paul Holdengräber
America considers the pursuit of happiness an inalienable right. But where is this pursuit taking us? How valuable is positive thinking? In arts, melancholia has long been a source of inspiration. Specialist of Ancient Greece Barbara Cassin will give a philosophical point of view on the topic, and historian of the French Revolution Sophie Wahnich will bring some insight on the conditions of happiness. They will be discussing with co-authors of 13 Words Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and Maira Kalman, also New Yorker cover artist and author of the acclaimed And the Pursuit of Happiness.
Maira Kalman is an award-winning artist who has illustrated numerous covers for The New Yorker and has written and illustrated a dozen children's books. Her articles and illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Interview, and many other publications. Now a teacher of graduate design at the School of Visual Arts, she has designed products for the Museum of Modern Art and sets for Mark Morris Dance Group. Her first online column for the Opinion section of the The New York Times, "The Principles of Uncertainty", ran from May of 2006 to April of 2007. It was followed by "And the Pursuit of Happiness", a yearlong investigation of democracy, inspired by the 2008 presidential elections.
Daniel Handler is the author of a collection of books for children, and three books for adults: The Basic Eight , Watch Your Mouth, and Adverbs. He is also the author of far too many books as Lemony Snicket, including 13 Words, a collaboration with Maira Kalman, and the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events. He also wrote the screenplay for the films A Series of Unfortunate Events, Kill the Poor, and Rick.
Barbara Cassin is head of research at the CNRS, where she has directed an international research team at the CNRS, and published a Vocabulaire Européen des Philosophies, Dictionnaire des Intraduisibles (European Vocabulary of Philosophies, Dictionnary of the Untranslatable). She also worked on contemporary rhetorical and political issues, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, to experiment in concreto what kind of things words can do in our days. Her latest book is Heidegger. Les Femmes, le nazisme et la philosophie.
Sophie Wahnich is a historian of the French Revolution interested in the relationship between emotions, feelings and politics. She is a CNRS head of Research at the Transdisciplinary Institute of Contemporary Anthropology (EHESS). Her method is to articulate areas that are not ususally connected: the history of politics, the analysis of political sovereignty in practice and the role of violence, the anthropology of rituals, revenge, or the sacred. To achieve what she calls a "desecration" of knowledge, she wants to make visible, in the writing of history, a sensitive dimension that postulates shared political values, thus presenting history both as an historical science and as a practice of political conscience. Her latest book is Les Émotions, la Révolution française et le présent (CNRS, 2009)
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
Debates, Readings, Performances
Over the course of three 10-day series in 2011 in New York City, WALLS & BRIDGES, curated by the Villa Gillet and presented by the Conseil de la Création artistique will present nearly 50 cultural events, combining about 100 speakers and artists, 30 partners and over 20 venues. Join LIVE from the NYPL as we host WALLS & BRIDGES at The New York Public Library.
Walls & Bridges is a series of events presented by the Villa Gillet and the Conseil de la création artistique.

The Villa Gillet (Lyon, France) is a unique cultural institute interested in thought in all its expressions. It brings together artists, writers, novelists and researchers from all over the world to encourage public debate on the big issues facing the world today.

The Conseil de la Création artistique is a laboratory for cultural experimentation created by the French Government in 2009 whose aim is to support innovative projects in the cultural field.