Laurence de Looze on the Alphabet – This Thursday!

“From the Greeks to Google: How the Alphabet Has Shaped the Western View of the World” (Bagnani Hall, Traill College – 7:30 pm on Thursday, September 24)

DeLoozeLaurence de Looze is editor and translator of Froissart’s The Prison of Love (La Prison Amoureuse), and his books include Pseudo-autobiography in the fourteenth century: Juan Ruiz, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Geoffrey Chaucer; Manuscript diversity, meaning, and variance in Juan Manuel’s El conde Lucanor; Egil, The Viking Poet: New Approaches to ‘Egil’s Saga,’ (with Heigason, Poole and Tulinius), and his forthcoming The Letter and the Cosmos: How the Alphabet has Shaped the Western View of the World. His fiction appears in The New England Review, The Antioch Review and other journals. 

And now, a few words from Lewis Macleod —

So, now that Michael Crummey got us all going, you’re in that withdrawal period.  You’re one beer in, ready for more, then nothing till Oct 1.

I get it. I really do.  You have the will and the desire and nowhere to put it.  No fun.

Don’t despair.  We’re looking out for you.

As I understand it, Freud argued that all civilizations and cultures are bound to make you discontented because the Id doesn’t really like or appreciate order, proportion, discipline. The ego (or was it the super ego?) is the traffic cop and the Id is the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. You can try  to explain the rationale behind saving some cookies for later, but Cookie just wants to eat all the cookies right now.  He (it’s a guy, right?) isn’t interested in type-2 diabetes or fair and equitable distribution of resources. He isn’t interested in excess or waste. Appetite is all.

Watch how this little girl understands all this intuitively.

Sesame Street: Kermit and Joey Say the Alphabet
If you’re watching videos with your preschooler and would like to do so in a safe, child-friendly environment, please join us at

What does Cookie Monster have to with this segment? Nothing, except the girl knows he’s the enemy of system, the patron saint of disruption.  Kermit wants to teach her something and establish a sequence; she isn’t having it. Cookie is her man.Kermit + Alphabet = intelligible order

Kid + Cookie= stuff it

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, because, in the absence of a Writers Reading Series event, my friend and colleague, Suzanne Bailey, is bringing in Dr Laurence de Looze from Western (by way of Harvard and Boston University) to talk to you about the alphabet as a shaping system: this Thursday, 7:30 pm.

“The alphabet,” de Looze argues, “has been used as a means for ordering and understanding the world.”  It works for us, sure, but it also works on us: “the ABCs are a conceptual order which not only helps us make sense of reality but also creates our reality” to a significant degree.

Unless you’re Cookie Monster.

Anyway, this is heady stuff, but not of the so-clever-it’s-boring type.  This is a major thinker, speaking in accessible terms, on your doorstep.  Any civilized person would want to come, right?

Big pile of cookies at the Trend afterwards.  Eat as many as you like.

About dontpanictrent

DON'T PANIC: A Trent Graduate Student Blog

One Response to “Laurence de Looze on the Alphabet – This Thursday!”

  1. See the report on this event by Alana Pickrell on the the English Department’s blog —

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