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On King Lear: “No Lives Matter” with Krishnan Venkatesh

  • Santa Fe Woman's Club 1616 Old Pecos Trail Santa Fe, NM, 87505 United States (map)

Krishnan Venkatesh helps to launch the ISC “A Year of Lear” with a talk about the good and evil in King Lear. Always an entertaining and provocative speaker, we are happy to have him back at the Shakespeare Talks!

On King Lear: "No Lives Matter"

Wisdom and goodness to the vile;
Filths savor but themselves.
— Albany to Goneril, 4.2.38–39

King Lear presents us with a world dominated by cruel, violent people, some deranged, some coldly calculating, and in such a world the innocent and good-natured seem destined to suffer. In this talk, we’ll be contemplating the different types of good and evil in the play, including servants, henchmen, and rulers. How do good and evil come about in such a world? Do they somehow generate each other? While all the bad people get their comeuppance here, is there any hope for the innocent and virtuous? Indeed, in such a world, is it “foolish” to be good?

Krishnan Venkatesh studied English literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and subsequently spent more than four years in research on Shakespeare at the University of Muenster, Germany, as a wissenschaftlicher mitarbeiter (scientific co-worker) for the great Shakespearean scholar Marvin Spevack. From 1986–89 he taught literature and philosophy at Shanxi University, People’s Republic of China. Both his personal and academic background make him well suited as a “bridge” between various traditions.

Since 1989 Mr. Venkatesh has taught at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, both in the two Western Great Books programs, and he was one of the shapers of the unique Eastern Classics Master’s program, in which he has taught for more than twenty years, understanding and speaking both Chinese and Sanskrit. From 2003–2008 he was the Dean of Graduate Studies at St. John’s.

$10 at the door

Students are free!