Lawrence Weschler’s work fills the gap between a multifarious event and its potential meaning(s). In his narrative essays, investigative journalism, and profiles of artists and activists in exile, Weschler unspools connective tissue between seemingly disparate topics – Parkinson’s disease and woodworking, Vermeer’s serene paintings and the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal – like a mad scientist building his own idiosyncratic, supercharged brain. Whatever his subject, Weschler is determined to tease out what he describes, in that titular essay from Vermeer in Bosnia, as “felt absences” – the conspicuously excluded contradictions and convergences to be found in culture, politics, and art.
The author of more than a dozen works of nonfiction (and two-time winner of the George Polk Award), Weschler was for more than twenty years a staff writer at The New Yorker. He is the author of eleven books, including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders, which was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and most recently Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative. He has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Bard, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, NYU, and his alma mater, Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz.
A visiting guest of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, Weschler will deliver a lecture titled “Science and Art as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing” this Wednesday, March 6, at 8 pm in Biology Building East.