The Strange History of Personality Testing and Its Continued Allure


Merve Emre

Wednesday, May 6th, 9-10am PT / 12-1pm ET
# people have already signed up
This event is sold out, but if you sign up for the waitlist, we'll let you know if spots become available.
You're on the waitlist now!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please email us at to join the waitlist.
The Strange History of Personality Testing and Its Continued Allure
No items found.


Intrigued by personality tests? Oxford English professor Merve Emre explains the history and endurance of this fascinating subject. Event Description: Join Oxford English professor Merve Emre for a fascinating journey into the history of personality testing, with a particular focus on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Merve spent years researching the strange origins of the Myers-Briggs and wrote a book that reveals a story so outlandish it's hard to believe it's nonfiction. We'll learn about the mother-daughter duo who developed the test, its connections to Carl Jung, Truman Capote, and the US military, and discuss why corporations and individuals continue to find the idea of personality testing so alluring. Event Location: This event will take place online via Zoom, a free video-conferencing tool. New to Zoom? After you buy your ticket, you'll receive an email with step-by-step instructions on how to use it, and you'll be a pro in no time! Merve’s Bio: Merve Emre is associate professor of English at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), The Ferrante Letters (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019), and The Personality Brokers (Doubleday: New York, 2018), which was selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the New York Times, the Economist, NPR, CBC, and the Spectator. She is the editor of Once and Future Feminist (Cambridge: MIT, 2018) and a centennial edition of Mrs. Dalloway, forthcoming from Liveright. Merve’s essays and criticism have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and the London Review of Books to American Literature, American Literary History, and Modernism/modernity. In 2019, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize, and her work has been supported by the Whiting Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, where she will be a fellow from 2020-2021. She is currently finishing a book titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities and starting a book called Woman: The History of an Idea. About Speakeasy: Speakeasy offers intimate events with compelling speakers and performers online via Zoom. Learn more about Speakeasy, and check out all of our events.

What to expect at this event