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The City Of Words:
Understanding Civilisation Through Story

by

'Manguel speaks movingly and convincingly about the power of literature to counter the reductive forces of nationalism, to bridge divides, to heal rifts, and to liberate citizens from mere consumerhood.' - The Georgia Straight. Alberto Manguel suggests a fresh approach: we should look at what visionaries, poets, novelists, essayists and filmmakers have to say about building societies. Perhaps the stories we tell hold secret keys to the human heart.

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Overview

We strive to build societies with sets of values all citizens can agree on. But something has gone wrong: race riots in France, political murder in the Netherlands, bombings in Britain and Bali - are these symptoms of a multicultural experiment gone awry? Why is it so difficult for us to live together when the alternatives are demonstrably horrifying?

In the 2007 CBC Massey Lectures, renowned author Alberto Manguel takes a fresh look at the rise of violent intolerance in our societies.

With his trademark wit and erudition, Alberto Manguel suggests a fresh approach: we should look at what visionaries, poets, novelists, essayists and filmmakers have to say about building societies. Perhaps the stories we tell hold secret keys to the human heart.

From Cassandra to Jack London, the Epic of Gilgamesh to the computer Hal in 2001: A Space Odessey, Don Quixote to Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Manguel draws fascinating and revelatory parallels between the personal and political realities of our present-day world and those of myth, legend and story.

'Manguel speaks movingly and convincingly about the power of literature to counter the reductive forces of nationalism, to bridge divides, to heal rifts, and to liberate citizens from mere consumerhood.' - The Georgia Straight

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Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel is an internationally acclaimed author, anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist and editor. His bestselling and award-winning books include A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading. He was born in Buenos Aires, lived in Canada for many years, and now lives in France. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.