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SOLD OUT Lecture, Robert McCrum, Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm


Image courtesy of W. W. Norton and Company.Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language with Robert McCrum

“In the twenty-first century, English + Microsoft = Globish.” —Robert McCrum

A small island in the North Atlantic—colonized by Rome, and pillaged for hundreds of years by marauding neighbors—becomes the dominant world power in the nineteenth century. Across the Atlantic, a colony of that island nation grows into the military and cultural colossus of the twentieth century. How? By the sword, by trade and industrial ingenuity, but principally by the power of a common language.

In his lecture,Robert McCrum will take a new look at the history of the Anglo-American imperium, show how the English language became the world’s lingua franca and describe the ever-accelerating changes wrought on the language by the far-flung cultures claiming citizenship in the new hegemony.

Robert McCrum is an associate editor of the Observer. He was born and educated in Cambridge. For nearly 20 years he was editor-in-chief of the publishers Faber & Faber. He is the co-author of The Story of English, and has written six novels. He was the literary editor of the Observer from 1996 to 2008, and has been a regular contributor to the Guardian since 1990.

Read a review at the Guardian

Read a review: The New Yorker

To Reserve: This event is open to the public. There is a $10 fee for members, $15 for non-members. Reservations are required but will not be accepted until May 24, 2010. Please call the Athenæum’s event reservation line, 617-720-7600.

Read an article by Robert McCrum in the Guardian

Books will be available for sale courtesy of our friends at The Globe Corner Bookstore.

Assistive Listening Devices image

The BA's virtual events are not routinely captioned. To request real-time captions for this event, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 no fewer than four business days prior to the event.