FREEING MINDS A Campaign for St. John's College
Seminars meet from 10 a.m. to noon, and 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday. Lunch on Saturday is included.
All seminars are held in the Hodson Room in Mellon Hall.
Register for Fall 2018 Weekend Classics
D.H. Lawrence’s poems are prophetic, insurgent events which cleanse the dust of ponderous conventional wisdom. We shall explore our relationship to the natural world and the animal kingdom, to family, society, and community. Lawrence’s vision deepens our personal responsibility to ourselves and others.
Recommended edition: Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, Penguin Classics paperback.
“Lui et Elle”
“Medlars and Sorb-Apples”
“Autumn at Taos”
“Middle of the World”
“Red Geranium and Godly Mignonette”
“Tortoise Family Connection”
“The Ship of Death”
In 1639, René Descartes shut himself in a room and thought through a new interpretation of human experience in the world. His Meditations on First Philosophy recounts his thinking, which remains the underpinning for modernity’s reliance on logical proof, rigorous analysis, and scientific knowledge.
We will read a selection of poems by John Donne, George Herbert, and Katherine Philips, who were among seventeenth-century English writers known as the "Metaphysical Poets." Their poetry is characterized by the use of witty conceits to explore various forms of love, including relationships with lovers, friends, and God. We will begin discussions by analyzing the poetic form.
John Donne, “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day”
George Herbert, “Denial” and “Love (III)”
Katherine Philips, “The Inquiry” and “To One persuading a Lady to Marriage”
Alice Munro’s stories explore the mystery of the ordinary. To read them with care is to learn, as one of her characters puts it, “to move [one’s] head and catch the light flashing through the holes and cracks.” By moving back and forth in time, her stories discover how memory and its lapses illuminate and shape our lives as men and women. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, Munro is credited with having brought the contemporary short story fully into its own.
Preferred edition: Alice Munro, My Best Stories, intro., Margaret Atwood, Penguin Canada, 2006
Rebecca Steiner Goldner
The relationship between Huck and Jim might be one of the most perplexing, rich and complicated in all of literature. Their journey, at times together, at other times apart, is not simply a coming of age for Huck but an exploration of truth and lies, morality, pain and love.
Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, his last tragedy, is about a rich Athenian, friend to mankind, who loses all his wealth by sharing it with his friends. They abandon him afterwards, and that discovery of ingratitude and falseness turns Timon into the paradigmatic misanthrope. He utters some of the most painful curses and hatreds in all dramatic literature. Molière’s The Misanthrope, on the other hand, is a comedy about a man, Alceste, who deplores the dishonesty and vices rampant in his Parisian milieu of King Louis XIV. But marvelously, he is in love with a coquette, Célimène, who seems to embody those very vices. Is he really a misanthrope? What makes the difference between a lover and hater? Likewise, what makes the one plot a tragedy and the other a comedy?
Shortly after publishing his Origin of Species and while finishing the manuscript of The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin prepared this short text on human and animal expressions and gestures. With close attention to the anatomy of the human face, Darwin sets out to discover whether human expressions of emotion however slight, fleeting, and involuntary are universal among all human beings at all stages of growth and across the various species of common animals. He asks questions such as: “When a man sneers or snarls at another, is the corner of the upper lip over the canine or eye tooth raised on the side facing the man whom he addresses?” or “Can guilty, or sly, or jealous expressions be recognized?” or “Why and when do we blush?”
Preferred edition: Penguin Classics (July 2009)
A poet of casual, deceptive beauty, John Ashbery published over 30 books. His painterly poems vex, manipulate, stimulate, coax, torment, and transform language to reveal depth of meaning and sudden moments of epiphany.
Recommended editions: Selected Poems of John Ashbery, Penguin Poets paperback; Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirron, Penguin paperback.
January 12–13 (FULL)
An exquisite craftsman whose poems explore the depths of the heart and the power of love, Auden is also a careful observer of particulars in the ordinary quotidian. His poems about art and politics blend two apparently divergent worlds. We will read a collection of his best poems.
Recommended edition: Selected Poems of W. H. Auden, expanded edition ed. Edward Mendelson. Vintage International paperback.
January 26–27 (FULL)
A full refund is provided should you cancel at least two weeks before the first seminar meets. No refunds are provided if you cancel less than two weeks before the seminar meets.
Should we need to cancel due to weather, you will be notified by email and the seminar will be rescheduled.
We reserve the right to cancel a seminar due to low enrollment.
Email | 410-626-2881
60 College Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401