Savage to Present 23rd Annual Presidential Lecture

Monday, April 08, 2013

As part of the Fairmont State University Presidential Lecture Series, Dr. Elizabeth Savage, Professor of English, will present “ ‘A Careful Disorderliness Is the True Method’: Reading, not Knowing, ‘Moby-Dick.' "

The 23rd annual lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, in Multi-Media Room A of the Ruth Ann Musick Library. The Presidential Lecture Series was established in 1989 to provide faculty the opportunity to share their work with colleagues and members of the community. A reception in the Library lobby will immediately follow the lecture. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available on the top level of the parking garage.

It wasn’t until Savage began her doctoral studies at Duquesne University that she first read “Moby-Dick.” Since that time she has spent almost 17 years of uninterrupted readings of the book and makes a case that however long, difficult, or irregular in form, “Moby-Dick” must be read and reread in order to understand its presence in American culture and its centrality to living an educated and worthwhile life.

“Too often, ‘Moby-Dick’ is talked about like the Constitution is invoked, as if everyone already knows what it says and, therefore, doesn’t need to read it as a living document, revitalized by close attention and regular discussion,” said Savage. “This presentation is a pitch that reading Melville’s famous novel better equips us as teachers, colleagues, friends, citizens—and even feminists—in our efforts to minimize sloppy thinking, snap judgments and the temptations of celebrity.”

Savage was nominated by Dr. J. Robert Baker, FSU’s Department of Language and Literature Chairman.

“With Dr. Savage as this year’s Presidential Lecturer, we will all enjoy an evening of first-rate scholarship, excellent intellectual argument and ingenious good humor,” he said. “We will delight in her love of Melville’s novel and be moved to consider the important issues she raises for us in our own teaching.”

The Presidential Lecturer is chosen annually by the University president from a series of nominations. The event attracts a mix of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members and the lecture is recorded for future use upon request.