Events and Programs
Annapolis, Continuing Education and Fine Arts Program
Seminar – Spring 2014
A community seminar is composed of approximately 15 students and one tutor engaged in the study of a single book, work, problem, or theme. Each meeting begins with a question posed by the tutor based on the assigned reading; the question is meant to begin the conversation, not to elicit a correct answer. The conversation is characterized by openness, reason, clarity, and civility. Every seminar member is encouraged to take part, to candidly state his or her views, and to be attentive to others.
Edith Wharton: The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence
Tutor: Janice Macaulay
Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
February 11 – April 1 (no class March 4 and 11)
Mellon Hall, Room 101
Tuition: $180. 6 sessions
In The House of Mirth Wharton described a “frivolous society” whose “tragic implication lies in its power of debasing people and ideals.” The beautiful Lily Bart is unable to make difficult choices or to bear hardship. Constrained by the limitations of her society, she is genuinely puzzled and eventually overwhelmed by the challenges of conscientiously living a moral life.
The Age of Innocence is about the conflict between passion and duty to family and to the established social order. Newland Archer is a young, wealthy lawyer who falls in love with the exotic and somewhat scandalous Countess Ellen Olenska just as he is about to enter a conventional society marriage to May Welland.
Both novels satirize the rigid expectations and narrow perspectives of the wealthy class at the top of the New York social hierarchy during America’s Gilded Age.
Suggested translation/text: Any editions are acceptable.
First assignment: The House of Mirth, Book I, Chapters 1-10
Rousseau, The Confessions
Tutor: Irena Datchev
Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
February 12 – April 9 (no class on March 5 and 12)
Mellon Hall, Room 101
Tuition: $210. 7 sessions
"I have resolved on an enterprise, which has no precedent, and which, once complete, will have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a portrait in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray will be myself." So begin Rousseau’s Confessions, and the result of the enterprise is one great philosopher’s insight into his own life and character: from his early years in Geneva, through his escape from the city, alone, at the age of 15, through his brilliant success at the French court and the Parisian salons, to the persecutions he suffered towards the end of his life. The book features also the main themes of Rousseau’s philosophy, containing his reflections on education, justice, freedom and society, happiness and suffering, and perhaps most eloquently, on the importance and intricacy of moral sentiments.
Suggested translation: J. M. Cohen, Penguin Books
First assignment: Books One and Two