Keynote Address

11:00am - 12:00pm

Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St.

Michael MurrinThe Marvelous Real: Marco Polo's Legacy to European Romance

Michael Murrin | Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor of English, Comparative Literature, the Divinity School, and the College

Marco Polo and the other travelers who described the wonders of Asia -- its palaces, strange creatures, and magic -- had a profound effect on European romancers.  Long after, when Europeans could no longer follow the Silk Road, writers still sent their heroes east to a land of wonders that still haunted their minds.  Nor did the dream die with the Renaissance.  Stories about the Silk Road continued to circulate in cheap prints in some areas well into the nineteenth century.  In his lecture Prof. Murrin shows what attracted European writers to the old accounts of Asia and sketches out the later history of this very specific dream of Asia.

Prof. Murrin's talk will be preceded by a solo performance by Yang Wei, a member of the Silk Road Ensemble.