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Carl E. Schorske Memorial Lecture | Giving the Working Class a Body: Politics, Literature, and Class War

Édouard Louis, author

April 6, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Godfrey Kerr Theater Studio, Lewis Arts complex

Program in European Cultural Studies
Photo courtesy of Édouard Louis.

The Program in European Cultural Studies (ECS) is pleased to announce that Édouard Louis will deliver this year’s annual Carl E. Schorske Memorial Lecture on Thursday, April 6.

Registration is required for this event. Please email Anna D’Elia to RSVP.

Reception to follow in the forum. 

We know that class domination is a synonym for the premature destruction of certain bodies. In most societies, to be working class is to see your chance of dying before 65 years old increase by 50%. In France and the United States, the wealthiest live between 10 and 15 years longer than the poorest.

Everything in the working-class life converges towards the weakening and slow erasure of the body: the harsh work, poor nutrition, despair or masculine culture.

My Father is 57 years old and already incapable of walking properly, because he was born into a life of poverty and stayed in poverty. My Brother died at 38 because he was born poor in a class system. How can literature give a body to those who have had theirs stolen and destructed by our societies, even when it is too late? Can politics and literature play a role in this struggle?

Bernardine Evaristo once said that every life contains its own manifesto. So, does every death. This lecture will try to constitute the starting point of a new manifesto for the working class.

Édouard Louis’s first novel, En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule, was published when he was 21 years old. It was heralded as a literary revelation by El País, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Corriere delle Sera, and other publications. He is also the editor of Pierre Bourdieu: l’insoumission en heritage (PUF, 2013). In 2014 Louis received the Prix Pierre Guénin. One of the most celebrated writers of his generation worldwide, his other works include Histoire de la violence, Qui a tué mon pere, Combats et métamorphoses d’une femme, and, most recently, Changer: Méthode.  His work is published in over 30 languages worldwide.

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