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Upcoming Literature and Theater Seminars

This list is of upcoming seminars only. Since most seminars meet more than once in a term, if a class has already met at least once, it will no longer show up on this list. To find a seminar that has already started or has finished, use the calendar and set the date range to include the seminar’s starting date.

Starting: Saturday, June 6, 2015
Saturdays, June 6 – July 11 (class will not meet July 4)
This seminar is full. Please call (312) 255-3700 for waitlist.
Persuasion: An Exploration of Jane Austen’s Novel
Led by Jeffrey Nigro

Seminar Description

Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last completed novel. Often described as having an “autumnal” mood, it is a richly textured work about romantic second chances, social change, and integrity. The first two weeks of the seminar will consist of in-depth discussions of Persuasion, followed by sessions devoted to...


Starting: Saturday, June 6, 2015
Saturdays, June 6 – August 8 (class will not meet June 20 or July 4)
Online registration closed. Call (312)-255-3700 to register.
The World of Russian Fairy Tales
Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne

Seminar Description

We will enter the world of Russian fairy tales, one of the largest collections of folk stories in Western literature. Exploring Russian beliefs and myths—from both pagan and Christian traditions—we will examine the structure and meaning of the fairy tales, as well as their influence on Russian literature, music, opera,...


Starting: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Tuesdays, June 9 – July 28
This class is full. Call (312) 255-3533 for the waitlist.
Chicago Playwrights and Their Plays
Led by Todd Bauer

Seminar Description

This seminar offers the unique opportunity to meet Chicago-based playwrights, engage in an in-depth dialogue about their work, and gain an intimate glimpse into their creative process. Each week we will read and discuss one work from our visiting playwright, ranging from established plays that have had a number of...


Starting: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Tuesdays, June 9 – August 4 (class will not meet July 7)
River Life: Twain's Huck Finn and Cormac McCarthy's Suttree
Led by Matt Laufer

Seminar Description

It’s time to tackle a virtually unknown American masterpiece and revisit one that’s familiar, but misread. Suttree (1979) has been called “unsurpassed in American Literature,” and McCarthy’s “magnum opus”—but it’s rarely read. We’ll crack it open by revisiting Huck Finn, a novel we...


Starting: Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Wednesdays, June 10 – August 5 (class will not meet June 24)
This seminar is full. Please call (312) 255-3700 for waitlist.
Moby-Dick: Reading and Envisioning an American Epic

Seminar Description

From the most famous first sentence in American literature to the climactic chase scene, reading Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is a great challenge—and memorable experience—in the life of any reader. This seminar will help participants chart an exciting course through the novel. We will also explore...


Starting: Thursday, June 11, 2015
Thursdays, June 11 – July 30
A Serious Look at Comedy: Five Plays From 1599-1743
Led by John Nygro

Seminar Description

Five comedies will serve as the foundation for exploring the rich and complex relationship between writer, performer, and audience. We will read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Molière’s The Middle-Class Gentleman, Wycherley’s The Country Wife, Gay’s ...


Starting: Thursday, June 11, 2015
Thursdays, June 11 – July 23 (class will not meet June 25)
H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds: Imaginative Science and Social Commentary
Led by Lee Minnerly

Seminar Description

A prominent historian of science once astutely observed that The War of the Worlds (1898) launched not only Wells’s literary career, but also that of the alien. In the novel, Wells also famously predicted the brutality of twentieth-century warfare and technology’s role in diminishing personal security....


Starting: Thursday, June 11, 2015
Thursdays, June 11 – July 30
Summertime Shakespeare
Led by Robert Sprott

Seminar Description

Shakespeare is never out of season, but these six plays—A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Henry IV, parts 1 and 2; Romeo and Juliet; Measure for Measure; and Much Ado About Nothing—will make for a profound and dreamy summer that will take us to the far...


Starting: Thursday, June 11, 2015
Thursdays, June 11 – August 6 (class will not meet July 16)
Writing for the Theater
Led by Douglas Post

Seminar Description

Designed for beginning playwrights as well as writers working in other forms, this seminar emphasizes what makes a scene successful, how to develop characters through dialogue and action, and how to think in theatrical terms. Weekly assignments will focus on points of attack, conflict, resolution, text and subtext. At the conclusion of the...

Starting: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Tuesdays, June 16 – July 21
Let's Go Shopping! Zola's Octave Mouret Novels
Led by Debra Mancoff

Seminar Description

Octave Mouret, gifted seducer in Émile Zola’s novels Pot Luck (Pot-Bouille) and The Ladies’ Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames), had an advantage over his rivals in mid-nineteenth-century Paris. He knew what women wanted and, as the owner of the largest department...


Starting: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Wednesdays, June 17 – July 8
T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets
Led by Joyce Goldenstern

Seminar Description

How do we read a modern poem? Reading the Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot asks us to wrestle with that question. Written at the end of his career and after a religious conversion, Four Quartets (like Eliot’s earlier, more secular epic The Waste Land) challenges us to read without the aid of the...