Columbus: Ruth Scurr on "John Aubrey, My Own Life"
Join us on Thursday, September 22nd at 7pm for a discussion with Ruth Scurr, author of John Aubrey, My Own Life, and Amanda Foreman will join in conversation.
John Aubrey, My Own Life is an extraordinary book about the first modern biographer that reimagines what biography can be. This intimate diary of Aubrey's days is composed of his own words, collected, collated, and enlarged upon by Ruth Scurr in an act of meticulous scholarship and daring imagination. Aubrey was born in Wiltshire, England, in 1626, and is best known as the author of Brief Lives, a book that redefined the art of biography through its informal and memorable sketches of the lives of his contemporaries, both men and women. The reign of Queen Elizabeth and the dissolution of the monasteries were not too far distant in memory during Aubrey's boyhood. He lived through some of England's most interesting times: the Civil War, the execution of Charles I, the brief rule of Oliver Cromwell and his son, and the restoration of Charles II.
Scurr's biography honors and echoes Aubrey's own innovations in the art of biography. Rather than subject his life to a conventional narrative, Scurr has collected the evidence remnants of a life, from manuscripts, letters, and books and arranged it chronologically, modernizing words and spellings, and adding explanations when necessary. All sources are given in the extensive endnotes. The result is an immediate, vibrant account of a life, rescued . . . from the teeth of time, as Aubrey said of his own strivings.
Born in 1971, Ruth Scurr studied at Oxford and Cambridge, where she currently teaches politics and history. A prominent literary critic, she has written for "The New York Review of Books" and "The Times Literary Supplement". Fatal Purity is her first book.
Amanda Foreman is a historian, a best-selling author and a columnist for 'The Wall Street Journal' and 'The Sunday Times'. Her latest work is the BBC documentary series, 'The Ascent of Woman'. Foreman is currently the 2016 chair of The Man Booker Prize. Her book on the history of women, 'The World Made by Women', will be published in 2017. She is a co-founder of the literary nonprofit, House of SpeakEasy Foundation, and a trustee of the Whiting Foundation.