Professor of English William Cook talked about understanding literature and its relationship to his book “Age of Fools” at his faculty lecture Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.
The lecture sparked interest when the topic of a pre-industrial revolution society was raised. There was discussion of People’s Rights versus Imposed order and an Imposed Societal structure.
“This is going to demonstrate, I hope, the reality that exists between researching a faculty member or professor and the actual investment of that research in a class situation as well as in anything you are doing relative to a creative works whether it be in scholarships or in fiction,” Cook said.
Junior English major Sonja Muir said Cook was an amazing speaker and wants to take a class with him before he retires.
“I love him, he is one of my favorite professors, he’s pretty much the most intelligent man, so it was really neat to hear the background behind what kind of forced him to write his book,” junior English major Christy McCarthy said.
Cook discussed a handout of notes on the development of “Age of Fools,” but instead of taking the entire time to solely talk about his book, he discussed the role literature has in society.
“I stick to literature, but I also go beyond it because the reality is that the literature we are writing is American literature and America is not what America was,” Cook said.
Cook continued by explaining how literature is seen as the archive of human behavior and identity.
“If you are in a position of power, you have a responsibility to call out injustices, specifically systemized injustices, that take place against people who are historically marginalized and I think that’s something that Dr. Cook did very well today,” senior music major Steven Forns said.
Cook then discussed how he is teaching the Industrial Revolution and its relationship to British Literature and American Literature.
“The history of the revolution isn’t exclusive to what we read about in our history books about the evolution of independence or industrial revolution it’s a human revolution for true equality without exception,” Muir said.
Cook later referenced Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist, Hard Times” the Christmas Carol. He used this reference to explain the fear humans have over what may happen to them in life.
“Everything in your life is prepared for you by society which is designing how they want you to be,” Cook said.
He discussed the forerunners of “Age of Fools.” Cook said his book exists because of Petronius the Satyricon, Ship of Fools, Mark Twain on the Damned Human Race and Dante’s Inferno.
“The reason this book exists is that there is a reality about literature which provides an avenue to comment on leaders of a given time,” Cook said.
The La Verne academy lecture series continues with Assistant Professor of Sociology Margaret Gough, who will present recent research at noon Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room.
Megan Sears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.