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Event to Celebrate Lincoln by Exploring His Powerful Language

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January 20, 2009 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Three eminent Lincoln scholars -- Garry Wills, Douglas Wilson and David Zarefsky -- will discuss the power of Abraham Lincoln's words Monday, Feb. 2, at a special Northwestern University program commemorating the upcoming 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.

Wills, Northwestern professor emeritus of history, is author of "Lincoln at Gettysburg," which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Wilson -- the only two-time winner of the Lincoln Prize for Best Book on Lincoln and the Civil War era -- is author of "Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln" and "Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words." Zarefsky, Owen L. Coon Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern, is author of "Lincoln, Douglas and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate."

Titled "The Language of Lincoln: Bicentennial Reflections," the free and public program will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street (at the corner of Sheridan Road), on Northwestern's Evanston campus. A parking lot adjacent to Chamber Hall on Foster Street as well as parking lots a block north and south on Sheridan Road) will be available for free parking.

Underlying "The Language of Lincoln" event, organized by Northwestern's Program in American Studies, is the idea that the strength and success of the man most historians deem the greatest American president stemmed in large part from his extraordinary ability to work with language. In addition to the presentations by the Lincoln scholars, the program will include a discussion among them and encourage questions from the audience.

Julia Stern, Northwestern associate professor of English and American Studies and author of a forthcoming book titled "Mary Chesnut's Civil War Epic," will moderate the panel.

"Not only is Lincoln quoted again and again but his language provides us with a framework through which we understand his time and ours," says Carl Smith, Northwestern's Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and primary organizer of the Feb. 2 event. "It is hardly surprising, then, that in our current time of crisis Lincoln is the president whose words President-elect Obama has most consulted."

"The Language of Lincoln" is co-sponsored by Northwestern's departments of communication studies, English and history. For more information, call the Program of American Studies at (847) 491-3525.
Topics: Campus Life