Texas Tech University

Literature Looks at Commerce:

How Poets and Novelists Have Seen the World of Business

Frederick Turner

Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas

Western literature does not really care for markets. At least that is the conventional wisdom, and it has been that way for quite a while. Even Ayn Rand took time to satirize the anti-commercial prejudice of the literary set, bringing it up in both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Academic literary critics sometimes seem proud of the anti-commercial stance, while those who favor free markets as a matter of policy will not quite be comfortable with works such as The Merchant of Venice or Bleak House. But is that really all there is? Of course not.

Frederick Turner was born in Northamptonshire, England, in 1943. After spending several years in central Africa, where his parents, the anthropologists Victor W. and Edith L. B. Turner, were conducting field research, Frederick Turner was educated at the University of Oxford (1962-67), where he obtained the degrees of B.A., M.A., and B.Litt. in English Language and Literature. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1977.

Before coming to the University of Texas at Dallas, Turner held academic positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara (assistant professor 1967-72), Kenyon College (associate professor 1972-85), and the University of Exeter in England (visiting professor 1984-85). From 1978-82 he was editor of The Kenyon Review.

Turner has published more than thirty books as well as numerous essays, poetry, reviews, and translations. His work has been translated in Albanian, French, German, Japanese, Hungarian, Italian, Macedonian, Rumanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese. He has lectured and given poetry readings at more than two hundred institutions in the United States, Canada, and Western and Eastern Europe. He is the author of The New World (1985), Genesis: An Epic Poem of the Terraforming of Mars (1988) and Epic: Form, Content, and History (2012).

Frederick Turner's lecture was held in the Escondido Theatre at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, February 21, 2013.

This event was cosponsored by the Department of English.

The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization