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Another Look: William Kennedy’s Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game

EVT 630
Feb 26
3:00 pm (PT)
Online (Zoom)
Additional Info:
Use the Get Tickets link below to register for the Zoom event.
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The Another Look book club focuses on short classics that have been forgotten, neglected, or overlooked—or may simply not have received the attention they merit. The selected works are short, in order to encourage the involvement of Bay Area readers whose time may be limited. Subscription at anotherlook.stanford.edu is encouraged for regular updates and details on the selected books and events.

William Kennedy’s Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist William Kennedy has been called the “Bard of Albany,” but he began his career as a reporter. After a stint in the military and in Puerto Rico, he returned to his hometown and saw the city of his birth with new eyes: “Without a sense of place, you don’t, as a writer, have very much. Place is all those forces of a given society impinging upon and determining character. Without it, a book becomes bloodless.”

According to Stanford’s Tobias Wolff, who will lead the discussion: “Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game belongs to William Kennedy’s celebrated Albany sequence of novels. Set during the Depression, it concerns a young gambler and bookie, the Billy of the title, who suffers a setback that compels him to embark on an odyssey—and I use that word advisedly—through the demimonde of his city, during which he encounters temptations and dangers that test his resolve to the limit. There are gangsters, there is a kidnapping, but at its core this novel is about character, and what this man will do and endure to preserve his honor.”

Following the discussion will be a Q&A session with the panelists.

Tobias Wolff
Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor of English, Emeritus, Stanford; Author; Founding Director, Another Look

Carol Edgarian
Author; Co-founder, Narrative magazine

Robert Pogue Harrison
Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature, Stanford; Host of “Entitled Opinions” (KZSU Radio); Director, Another Look

This program is co-sponsored by the Distinguished Careers Institute and Stanford Continuing Studies.
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