Adam's Dream

April 12, 2005 (Tuesday) / 5:00 pm

200 College Hall, 3450 Woodland Walk

Adam's Dream

The Modeling of Eve

Wendy Steiner

Richard L. Fisher Professor of English
University of Pennsylvania

When Wonderland grows too chaotic, Lewis Carroll's Alice can wake up, relieved to call her adventures "nothing but a dream." But unfortunately, the boundary between waking and dreaming is not always so clear. "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken," moans James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus. For millennia, the arts have shown us the joys and horrors of dreams that come true, dreams that function, in effect, as models, prototypes, prophesies.

In this concluding lecture of the year, Penn Humanities Forum Director Wendy Steiner will explore the idea of the model through a story that appears over and over in the arts: Adam's dream of Eve. This is not just any dream. In it, Adam models Woman, and his dream comes down to us as a symbol of male creativity and power. See how contemporary artists are re-imagining this act of modeling as a mutual creativity in this lecture taking us from the year of Sleep and Dreams into the Forum's 2005-2006 topic, Word and Image.

Wendy Steiner is the Richard L. Fisher Professor of English and Founding Director of the Penn Humanities Forum. A graduate of McGill University who took her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale, Dr. Steiner is a noted public intellectual who is widely published in the scholarly and general press, with over 175 articles and reviews on books, painting, architecture, and general culture. Her books include The Scandal of Pleasure and Venus in Exile.