Nicholas Dames: Concerning the Novel Chapter

Mar. 30, 2023, 6:00 p.m.

Rockefeller Hall, Room 200

What is a “chapter” and what work does it perform in prose narrative? What kinds of durations, what experiential shapes, does a chapter tend to encapsulate? It’s not a question that novel theory or narratology has taken up, so banal or irrelevant has the chapter usually been considered. This talk proposes the chapter as a new object of analysis, and works through some of the methodological challenges and possibilities such an object presents.

In this lecture, Nicholas Dames, Theodore Kahan Professor of Humanities at Columbia University, will present work from his book-in-progress, The Chapter: A History of Segmented Life, which traces the development of the chapter over two millennia—from an editorial and scribal practice of late antiquity and early Christianity to a compositional practice of the European novel.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations/tickets are not required. Professor Dames’s visit is generously co-sponsored by Global Nineteenth-Century Studies and the Departments of English and French & Francophone Studies.

Nicholas Dames standing in front of a bookcase
Nicholas Dames
Photo: Columbia University