Meet the Author: Eric Karpeles - "Almost Nothing" - Clare Cavanagh

Eric Karpeles discusses Almost Nothing: The 20th-Century Art and Life of Jósef Czapski. He will be joined in conversation by Clare Cavanagh. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At 57th Street Books

Friday, November 16, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm


About the book: Józef Czapski (1896–1993) lived many lives—as a soldier, public figure, historical witness, memoirist, essayist, and painter. His ninety-six years nearly span the twentieth century in its entirety. He was a student in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution and a painter in Paris in the Roaring Twenties. As a Polish reserve officer fighting against the invading Nazis in the opening weeks of the Second World War, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets and survived the Katyn Massacre. He never returned to Poland, working tirelessly in Paris to keep awareness of the plight of his homeland alive, overrun by totalitarian powers. Czapski was a towering public figure, but painting gave meaning to his life.

Eric Karpeles, also a painter, reveals Czapski’s full complexity, pulling together all the threads of this remarkable life.


About the author: Eric Karpeles is a painter, writer, and translator. His comprehensive guide, Paintings in Proust, considers the intersection of literary and visual aesthetics in the work of the great French novelist. He has written about the paintings of the poet Elizabeth Bishop and about the end of life as seen through the works of Emily Dickinson, Gustav Mahler, and Mark Rothko. The painter of The Sanctuary and of the Mary and Laurance Rockefeller Chapel, he is the also the translator of Józef Czapski’s Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp and Lorenza Foschini’s Proust’s Overcoat. He lives in Northern California.


About the interlocutor: Winner of the NBCC in criticism, Clare Cavanagh is the Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University. Her translations include Wisława Szymborska’s Map: Collected and Last Poems, with Stanisław Barańczak, and Adam Zagajewski’s Slight Exaggeration.


Event Location:

57th Street Books

1301 E. 57th St.

Chicago, IL 60637

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