A few months ago, two prominent American professors of philosophy -- Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly -- published a book called All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age. It's a populist volume, advising the reader quite simply, on How To Live.
Elizabeth Gilbert was surprised when she read a review of the book in the New York Times, as well as intrigued reading the book now to see that the authors spend a fair bit of time comparing her to David Foster Wallace.
Dreyfus and Dorrance admire both of these contemporary writers, who, according to them, created strong voices on the page, both battled depression, Gilbert became a global symbol of stubborn good cheer. Both authors found themselves placed in an unexpected spotlight of fame and vast public expectation.
On May 5th, Elizabeth Gilbert will be in conversation with Paul Holdengräber to speak in public for the last time about her "Eat, Pray, Love" journey before retiring to a quieter life of, as she puts it, "working on slow fiction and even slower gardening."
Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic's Circle Award. Since its initial publication in January 2006, her #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Lovef has sold over 8 million copies and been published in forty languages. A film adaptation of the book came out this past August from Columbia Pictures with an all star cast: Julia Roberts as Gilbert, Javier Bardem as Felipe, James Franco as David, Billy Crudup as her ex-husband and Richard Jenkins as Richard from Texas. In 2008, Time magazine named Gilbert one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.