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October 30, 2001 Saint Louis Literary Award Lecture by 2001 Recipient, Simon Schama at 5:00 p.m., Saint Louis University, Busch Memorial Center

Simon Schama, 2001 recipient of the Saint Louis Library Associates Literary Award, has in his writing, gathered together not only our actions, and thoughts: he has understood society's hopes and dreams, which we have not had the strength to realize.  As a writer, teacher, researcher, and above all, an intellectual, Simon Schama is taking his place at the forefront of our greatest thinkers.

His work has been highly praised for its experimental attitude and its attempt to trace the growth of personal moral responsibility within a democratic society.  Schama has masterfully questioned the rigid concepts of historical reality, to which historians have owed a great deal.

In his revolutionary approach, Simon Schama has shown his readers, listeners and viewers, a world that is simply far more mysterious and uncertain, and at the same time more exciting, and still, despite its raw violence and capriciousness, more promising.

In his earlier works, particularly "Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution," Schama shares with us his ability to see Europe and America with an awareness of their rich diversity and their fluidity and freedom.  His readers are consequently enabled to conceive of a narrative of history unburdened by narrow categories.

Schama does this with a prose that is flexible, and swift as historical change is swift, confronting the inequalities and brutalities of the societies of France forthrightly, yet thrusting forth images of hope, human fraternity, and individual self-realization.  He has developed a prose style that makes use of the richness of our speech, the idiomatic expression, and the rhetorical flourishes from past periods that are still alive among us.  Schama's works, whilst intellectually rigorous, negotiate between the familiar and the strange, and wonderfully mix the analytical and the romantic.

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Last updated April 27, 2005.  Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University.

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