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New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast to speak

Thursday, March 5, 5 p.m. 101 McCormick Hall

Acclaimed cartoonist Roz Chast will give an illustrated talk about her work at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in 101 McCormick Hall.

For the past three decades, more than 800 of her cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker and in magazines as varied as Scientific American, Town & Country and the Harvard Business Review. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, and she has published more than a dozen books.

Chast's cartoons are inhabited by recurring, often hapless characters who face the issues of our time: anxiety, guilt, aging and relationships with relatives, friends and the outside world. Her most recent collection, "Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006," demonstrates her ironic but compassionate vision. There is often a sense of foreboding in her drawings; mortality and melancholy are frequent themes, and yet readers laugh.

Cartooning for Chast is about storytelling: "… it sounds so cheesy to say it, but communicating a very specific feeling or thought, hopefully a funny one." In an interview with comedian Steve Martin, she described her affinity for interior scenes, which often involve lamps and accentuated wallpapers as backdrops for her cartoons. Peculiar objects populate her drawings, reflecting Chast's affection for what her mother once called a "conspiracy of inanimate objects." The New York Times has described Chast as "equal parts Mia Farrow and Woody Allen." David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, called her "the magazine's only certifiable genius."

Chast is this year's Belknap Visitor in the Humanities, hosted by the Humanities Council. She joins a distinguished roster of eminent writers and artists, including Ian McEwan, Meryl Streep, Chuck Close, Don DeLillo, Arthur Miller and Maurice Sendak, who have come to Princeton through a program created in memory of Chauncey Belknap of the Princeton class of 1912.

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