Meet KU’s Authors
February 19 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree
Laura Mielke is the Dean’s Professor of English at the University of Kansas, and her research focuses on the intersection of literature, politics, and performance in America before the 20th century. In her new book, Provocative Eloquence: Theater, Violence, and Antislavery Speech in the Antebellum United States, Mielke recounts how the theater, long an arena for heightened eloquence and physical contest, proved terribly relevant in the lead up to the Civil War. In the mid-19th century, rhetoric surrounding slavery was permeated by violence. Slavery’s defenders often used brute force to suppress opponents, and even those abolitionists dedicated to pacifism drew upon visions of widespread destruction. As anti-slavery speech and open conflict intertwined, the nation became a stage.