Public Lectures Series
Lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are in McCosh 50 and begin at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Click here to see location.
Lectures Home » J. Edward Farnum Lectures
About This Series

“Founded [in 1939] by a bequest of George L. Farnum of the Class of 1894 in memory of his brother, J. Edward Farnum of the Class of 1890, for the purpose of providing lectures from time to time by men of prominence not connected with the University.”
Lecturers have included John Gielgud on “Readings from Shakespeare” (1946-1947); V. S. Pritchett on “Conversation in the English Novel” (1953-1954); Isaiah Berlin on “DeMaistre and the Origins of Fascism” (1962-1963); Roland de Vaux on “Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Palestine and the Old Testament” (1964-1965); and Eleanor Holmes Norton on “The New Equality” (1974-1975). Farnum, who died in 1917, was an explorer for whom “strange people and customs held a fascination.” In 1897 he traveled from Pekin to Vladivostok, “700 miles of which had never before been traversed by a European.” So reported the Princeton Alumni Weekly in 1941.

Speakers in this series

David Denby The New Yorker

Do Movies have a Future?
Thu, 13 Mar 2003 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Yi Fu Tuan Emeritus Professor, University of Wisconsin

Place, Art, and Self
Wed, 08 Oct 2003 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Helen Vendler Harvard University

Lyric Intimacy: Speaking to Invisible Listeners.
Wed, 14 Apr 2004 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Hermione Lee Oxford University

Shelley's Heart and Pepys's Lobsters Jane Austen Faints Virginia Woolf's Nose
Mon, 27 Sep 2004 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures and Princeton University Press

Alex Filippenko University of California, Berkeley

Catastrophic Stellar Explosions: Celestial Firework Enigmatic Gamma-Ray Bursts: Birth Cries of Black Holes Einstein's Biggest Blunder? The Case for Cosmic "Antigravity"
Wed, 23 Feb 2005 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Paul Taylor The Paul Taylor Dance Company

A Conversation with Paul Taylor, with Maura Keefe, dance historian
Fri, 29 Apr 2005 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

David Gross Physicist and string theorist

The Search for a Theory of Fundamental Reality: I. The Theory of Elementary Particles, II. Questions and Speculations, III. The Coming Revolutions
Tue, 25 Apr 2006 | J. Edward Farnum Fund and Princeton University Press

Ruth Reichl Gourmet Magazine

Watch What You Eat
Tue, 06 Mar 2007 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture

Jerma Jackson Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Made in America: The History of Black Gospel Music, "Our Music Was Tambourines and Sometimes Guitar: Contemplating the Roots of Black Gospel" (Note: 4:30 p.m. in McCormick Hall 101)
Thu, 25 Sep 2008 | Cosponsored by the J. Edward Farnum Fund and the Center for African American Studies, Departments of Religion and Music, Davis Center, Council of the Humanities, Program in American Studies, and the Center for the Study of Religion

Glenn Close Actress

Are You Who We Think You Are? (NOTE: 5:30 p.m. in McCosh 50.) FREE TICKET REQUIRED. Tickets are no longer available. There will be a wait line the night of the event, and individuals without tickets may be seated if seats become available. The lecture will be simulcast in McCosh 28 and 46; no ticket required. (webcast)
Thu, 19 Feb 2009 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture

Alex Ross Music critic, The New Yorker

Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues: Bass Lines of Music History
Tue, 28 Apr 2009 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture (Note: 8:00 p.m. in McCosh Hall 10)

Anna Deavere Smith Actress and playwright

The Song Inside of What They Said to Me: On Performing America
Tue, 13 Apr 2010 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture (NOTE NEW DATE. 7:30 p.m. in McCosh 50)

Larry Gonick and Randall Munroe Larry Gonick, author of The Cartoon History of the Universe; Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd

High Concept, Low Art: Cartoonists Larry Gonick and Randall Munroe in Conversation about Life, the Universe, and Nothing (Note: 8:00 p.m. in Taylor Auditorium, NEW Frick Chemistry Building. See map at Simulcast in Jadwin Hall A06.
Mon, 11 Apr 2011 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture

Josh Kornbluth Comic monologuist and filmmaker

The Mathematics of Change: A Comic Monologue about Failure at Princeton
Thu, 05 Apr 2012 | J. Edward Farnum

Margaret Atwood Author

Future Imperfect: The Clock Strikes Midnight
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture, cosponsored by the Committee on Canadian Studies