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The sixth Faculty Pub Night of the 2022-23 season features Brian Treanor,  professor of philosophy and Charles S. Casassa SJ Chair. He will discuss his recent book,  "Melancholic Joy: On Life Worth Living."


About Faculty Pub Night: 

Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the public are all invited to the 2022-2023 series of Faculty Pub Night at the William H. Hannon Library. Eight LMU professors are selected annually to discuss their latest publication or project in a comfortable setting and format that welcomes diverse perspectives for an inclusive conversation aimed to educate the entire community. All Faculty Pub Nights are free and open to the public.


About the Author's Work:

Today, we find ourselves surrounded by numerous reasons to despair, from loneliness, suffering and death at an individual level to societal alienation, oppression, sectarian conflict and war. No honest assessment of life can take place without facing up to these facts and it is not surprising that more and more people are beginning to suspect that the human story will end in tragedy. However, this focus on despair does not paint a complete and accurate picture of reality, which is also inflected with beauty and goodness. Drawing on philosophy, poetry, literature, and more, Melancholic Joy undertakes a full and honest assessment of the human condition. While both commonplace suffering and extraordinary horrors suggest that despair might well be the logical response to reality, despair is not the only—or the appropriate—response. It argues that, on the other side of despair, we can and should take up joy again, not in an attempt to ignore or dismiss evil, but rather as part of a “melancholic joy” that accepts the mystery of a world that is both beautiful and brutal.


About the Author:

Brian Treanor is professor of philosophy and Charles S. Casassa SJ Chair at Loyola Marymount University. Like Les Murray, he is “only interested in everything.” Consequently, his scholarship is interdisciplinary in its method, and wide-ranging and diverse in its foci. He is the author or editor of ten books, including: Melancholic Joy (Bloomsbury 2021), Philosophy in the American West (Routledge 2020), Carnal Hermeneutics (Fordham 2015), Emplotting Virtue (SUNY 2014), and Interpreting Nature (Fordham 2013).

His journey to LMU was long and atypical. He dropped out of university as a sophomore to move to Japan and study independently. After returning to finish an undergraduate degree in political science at UCLA, he decamped to Europe and spent a good portion of the next decade traveling and climbing, living frugally to avoid work as much as possible, and working hard when necessary to fund the next journey. He backpacked through Europe, parts of the Middle East, and North Africa, drove overland into Central America, lived in a car—a two-door Mazda 323 hatchback—while climbing acr2023 oss North America, and undertook a long-term walkabout with a “round the world” ticket, among other various and sundry adventures. He returned to the US and graduate school after an intense period of autodidactism, earning a PhD at Boston College.

Among several current projects, he is writing a monograph that draws on personal experience, philosophy, literature, poetry, myth, local history, and science to explore and reflect on wildness. His approach to this project is both intellectual and immersive, aided by his background as a backpacker and pilgrim, an accomplished climber, an enthusiastic swimmer, sailor, and parapente pilot, and general knockabout. In 2011, he was awarded the President’s Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award.


About the William H. Hannon Library:

The William H. Hannon Library fosters excellence in academic achievement through an array of distinctive services that enable learners to feed their curiosity, experience new worlds, develop their ideas, inform their decision-making, and inspire others. More information can be found at http://library.lmu.edu

For more information about this event, contact the Outreach and Engagement team at the William H. Hannon library via email at library.outreach@lmu.edu or call 310-338-5234.

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