Charles Eliot Norton Lectures #6

DATE - 1971

In 1970 Charles was appointed the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. The Norton chair is traditionally held by an individual who has made a significant contribution to literature, music, or the fine arts. The individual is asked to deliver a series of lectures at Harvard, which are open to the university community. The announced topic of Charles’s lectures was “Problems Relation to Visual Communication and the Visual Environment.” He delivered six lectures over a six-month period (October 1970 to April 1971), first at the Loeb Drama Center and then at the Harvard Theater, where the lectures were moved to accommodate the large crowds who came to hear Charles Speak.

Additional Information

On April 26, 1971, Charles delivered the sixth and final lecture in the Norton series. After recapping the previous lecture, he discussed the “environment of the professional process, an environment which does not necessarily show in the final product but which is always there.” The slide show Movie Sets helped to illustrate the point. Movie Sets, which was based on an earlier one-screen show, was revised for the Norton Lectures to a 240-image, 3-screen (80-pass) slide show of photographs of locations shot and studio sets from several Billy Wilder films (Irma La Douce, Sabrina, The Spirit of St. Louis, Ace in the Hole, and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes).

Charles also talked about the importance and usefulness of models of all kinds as tools for the study and investigation of concepts, ideas, and systems and about the potential of the modern electronic computer as a tool for modeling. 

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