Another Look celebrates its 10th anniversary with Wescott’s Pilgrim Hawk and a high-spirited conversation!

Another Look director Robert Pogue Harrison introducing the event. (All photos by David Schwartz)

Another Look celebrated its tenth anniversary with another remarkable and too-little-known masterpiece: Glenway Wescott‘s 1940 novella The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story (NYRB Classics). And what a lively celebration it was! The Wednesday, October 5, conversation was spirited, controversial, and occasionally downright rowdy.

The panelists: Steve Wasserman, former book editor at the Los Angeles Times Book Review and editor at large for the Yale University Press, and now publisher of Heyday Books in Berkeley; Stanford Prof. Robert Pogue Harrison, author, director of Another Look, host of the radio talk show and podcast series Entitled Opinions, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books; Stanford Prof. Tobias Wolff, one of America’s leading writers, is the founding director of Another Look and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts; and author Cynthia L. Haven, a National Endowment for the Humanities public scholar.

You can view the video version of The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story here – or listen to the podcast here.

The occasion also marked our return to our long-ago beginnings. We held our inaugural event at Levinthal Hall in the Stanford Humanities Center for William Maxwell’s So Long See You Tomorrow in 2011. We outgrew that friendly and intimate setting seven years ago, on June 1, 2015. The occasion? Another Look took on Albert Camus‘s The Stranger.

On that astonishing evening, we filled the hall to the bursting point, with Another Look friends sitting on the floor and crowding the doorways. The size of the event had surprised even us, and necessitated a move to the more spacious Bechtel Conference Center in Encina Hall. Now we’re changing venues again. COVID inaugurated the era of zoom: now Another Look offers hybrid events – a virtual presence for those who live across the country, world, or who, for other reasons, have to stay close to home, along with our traditional in-person events, where you can chat with the panelists and enjoy the energy of a lively literary discussion.

The reason for the crowd that June night in 2015: Another Look’s founding director Tobias Wolff had just announced his retirement, and it looked like that would be the end of Another Look. But it was also the night Prof. Robert Pogue Harrison, who was in the audience that night (some will remember his spirited exchange with Toby on The Stranger), stepped forward to fill Toby’s shoes. Now the two directors team up on the panel for most of our events – and what a great duo they are! Thanks to our night with Camus, we continued a full decade of events for a program that is perhaps unique in the nation – including the most recent presentation of Glenway Wescott’s brilliant novella.

The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story traces a single afternoon in a French country house during the 1920s. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and sometime novelist, is staying with a friend outside Paris when a well-heeled Irish couple drops in — with Lucy, their tamed hawk, a restless, disturbing presence. The story that unfolds is both harrowing and farcical. Novelist Michael Cunningham in his introduction calls the book “murderously precise and succinct.” 

A bonus: NYRB publisher Edwin Frank, a former Stegner fellow at Stanford and a longtime supporter of Another Look, contributed to our fête with an interview about The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story. The Q&A “Subtlety and ferocity, despair, and some genuine camp” is here.

Photos below taken by Another Look photographer David Schwartz, working virtually from home. Thanks, David! This Another Look also marks another transition: Roger Winkelman, who did a heroic job film and recording our events at Bechtel and became a treasured member of the Another Look family, has retired and moved to New York. His colleague. Robert Edgar, has taken up the challenge of guiding Another Look into its second decade. Welcome, Bob!

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