On Love and Books

Lecture with Professor Gordana Crnković

Thursday, November 2, 2017
7:00 – 8:00 pm

Frye Auditorium

"Because when I read, I don’t really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liqueur until the thought dissolves in me," says Haňt'a, the narrator and main character of Bohumil Hrabal’s iconic novel Too Loud a Solitude. Compacting wastepaper and books "for thirty-five years now," the elderly Haňt'a saves volumes tossed into the basement where he works and reads them at home at night. "I expect them to tell me things about myself I don’t know," he tells. One of the most loving and unusual books about books, about the joys and responsibilities of true reading and engaging with the human thought and ingenuity passed to us in books from the bygone generations, Too Loud a Solitude (1976) is also one of the most cherished of Eastern European novels. With the help of excerpts from the novel, Professor Gordana Crnković will present this work’s unique meditation on the written word and the place of books and reading in our lives. The talk will also touch on the novel's related themes of art, ethics, animal welfare, and technology, and briefly discuss the literary and cultural context of the novel.


Gordana P. Crnković is a Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media at the University of Washington, Seattle. She holds MA and PhD degrees from Stanford University's Modern Thought and Literature Program, and undergraduate degrees in comparative literature and philosophy from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. Crnković is the author of Imagined Dialogues: East European Literature in Conversation with American and English Literature and Post-Yugoslav Literature and Film: Fires, Foundations, Flourishes, as well as a co-editor, with Sabrina P. Ramet, of Kazaaam! Splat! Ploof! American Influence on European Popular Culture, 1945 to Present, and In Contrast: Croatian Film Today, with Aida Vidan. Gordana also wrote and read texts for Zagreb Everywhere, an experimental video made in collaboration with video artist Victor Ingrassia and composer David Hahn, and available on Vimeo.

Hana Hamplová. Untitled, 1979. Gelatin silver print on paper. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Marion Hrebek Keys, 1990/1.216

Tickets Price and Tiers

Ticketing Policies
Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis, and may be picked up at the information table located in the foyer outside the auditorium thirty minutes prior to the start of the program. There is no late seating and capacity is limited, so please arrive early.

As a special benefit, Frye members may reserve free tickets in advance to guarantee seating. To reserve, email rsvp@fryemuseum.org or call 206 432-8289 at least two days prior to the event. Each member may reserve two tickets and may claim their tickets one hour in advance of the program start time.