Examining the self

7.50pm to 9.15pm, Thursday 31 March

The Theatre

This event has already taken place

  • Ian McEwan

    Ian McEwan


Standard £18


Concession £15


Discounts for Members

Event description

The self is an intangible and perhaps illusory entity which is essential to our understanding of modernity. As a historical development it is relatively recent. Highly wrought modern day notions of the self would not be recognisable to antiquity, or even to a medieval writer. Literature presents a form of archaeology of the idea of the private self as a subject worthy of report, study and daily experience.

Join novelist Ian McEwan as he examines the self, drawing on philosophical debate and modern neuroscience, as well as the writings of Homer, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Pepys, Boswell and Joyce.

About the speaker

Ian McEwan is  british novelist whose works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. One of his most famous works novels Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004).

He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and the Prix Fémina Etranger (1993) for The Child in Time as well as many other awards and nominations. He was awarded a CBE in 2000.

Food and Drink

The Discourse is a perfect occasion to meet like-minded people who share an enthusiasm for science and technology!

Our Discourse drinks reception in the Atrium provides a vibrant and welcoming social space where Ri members and their guests can meet each other, share a drink or two with canapés and explore 200 years of science innovation in the Faraday Museum before attending the Discourse in our famous lecture theatre. The reception runs from 6.30pm – 7.30pm and tickets are £15 per person for Ri members and their guests.

A fine dining menu is also served before and after the Discourse in our restaurant and restaurant reservations are open to Ri members and non-members.

To book your table or the Discourse drinks reception, please call
020 7670 2973 or email msantos@ri.ac.uk.

Please note

If you haven't been before, please note that Friday Evening Discourses are traditional events that date back to 1825. With that in mind, many attendees like to wear smart evening dress, though this is not a requirement.

There is also a certain level of tradition and ceremony during the event, including: the speaker and host walk through the doors as the clock bell rings at exactly 8pm; the speaker starts the talk with no introduction or hellos, and should finish at 9pm as the clock bell rings again; the speaker is locked in a room 10 minutes before the talk begins to prevent them running away (legend has it that once a speaker escaped just before the discourse). 

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.

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