The Miniaturists by Barbara Browning Book Launch Event
Join the Department of Performance Studies as we celebrate Professor Barbara Browning and her two recent publications, The Miniaturists and The Terrarium: Correspondence and Essays. The evening will feature readings and performances inspired by the books and refreshments. We will also be giving out copies of both books!
In The Miniaturists Barbara Browning explores her attraction to tininess and the stories of those who share it. Interweaving autobiography with research on unexpected topics and letting her voracious curiosity guide her, Browning offers a series of charming short essays that plumb what it means to ponder the minuscule. She is as entranced by early twentieth-century entomologist William Morton Wheeler, who imagined corresponding with termites, as she is by Frances Glessner Lee, the “mother of forensic science,” who built intricate dollhouses to solve crimes. Whether examining Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the Schoenhut toy piano dynasty, portrait miniatures, diminutive handwriting, or Jonathan Swift’s and Lewis Carroll’s preoccupation with tiny people, Browning shows how a preoccupation with all things tiny can belie an attempt to grasp vast---even cosmic---realities.
The Terrarium: Correspondence and Essays
This work of literary non-fiction is comprised of alternating chapters between the two authors. Browning’s chapters take the form of personal correspondence to her co-author, while Régnier’s take the form of seemingly internal, contemplative essays, drawing on his prior journal entries, songs, and photographs. The distinction, however, between second and third-person address is perhaps illusory, as the work goes on to illustrate the ways in which personal correspondence and contemplative writing bleed into one another.