Subscribe to Upcoming Literature and Theater Seminars

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: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Wednesday, February 18 – April 22
Medieval Britain 1307-1485 through Historical Fiction
Led by Matthew Bird

Seminar Description

Explore the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, the Age of Wycliffe, the Peasants’ Revolt, the Wars of the Roses, and other highlights of medieval British history. Rigorously-researched historical novels by P.C. Doherty, Sharon Penman, Candace Robb, Josephine Tey, and others provide an engaging introduction to the period. With the readings as...


Starting: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Tuesdays, February 17-April 21
Our Writing/Ourselves: Women's Writing in the 20th Century
Led by Ariana Nadia Nash

Seminar Description

This seminar will examine American women’s writing over the last century. We will consider how craft and form affect content by reading samples of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and essays, by authors such as Mary Gaitskill, Zora Neale Hurston, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Adrienne Rich. Participants will examine these...


Starting: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesdays, February 18-April 22
Dazzled by the Truth: the World and Work of Franz Kafka, a Modern Jewish Storyteller
Led By Dagmar Herrmann

Seminar Description

W.H. Auden wrote, “Had one to name the author who comes nearest to bearing the same kind of relation to our age as Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe bore to theirs, Kafka is the first one would think of.” Through a close reading of Kafka’s short stories, and through examination of his life and of early-twentieth-century Prague, we shall...


Starting: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesdays, February 18 – April 22
Flannery O'Connor and the Agency of Grace
Led by Lyle Roebuck

Seminar Description

In the work of Flannery O’Connor, the human condition is reduced, often by violent circumstances, to a state in which faith may or may not lead to any kind of salvation or redemption. Freakish tragedies strip O’Connor’s characters of pretention, leaving them in a state of grace—a condition most of them, no doubt, would have preferred to avoid...


Starting: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesdays, February 18-April 22
Reading James Joyce's Ulysses
Led by Susan Bazargan

Seminar Description

How does one approach James Joyce’s Ulysses? Reading this literary masterpiece is both like and unlike reading other novels. Through close examination and discussion of the text, we will explore its major themes and concepts, navigate its calm and turbulent sections, and enjoy our journey through the landscape of this fascinating...


Starting: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Thursdays, February 19 – March 26
Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus: Existential Literature as Philosophy
Led by Eugene Newman

Seminar Description

The literary texts of the great French existentialists are perhaps the most effective presentations of their philosophies. Close readings of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea and Albert Camus’ The Stranger will elucidate the themes of existential angst, the absurd, and the possibilities of authentic living and action...


Starting: Tuesday, February 24, 2015
February 24 -April 21
Marcel Proust's Sodom and Gomorrah
Led by Mike Levine

Seminar Description

Human sexuality—its mystery, its variety, and above all its power—is the principal subject of the fourth volume of Proust’s great novel In Search of Lost Time. As he begins to see the extent to which society’s codes and conventions are designed to accommodate or control sexual instincts, the narrator finds himself overwhelmed by his...


Starting: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Wednesdays, February 25 - April 15
Surrealism and the Second City
Led by Harrison Sherrod

Seminar Description

From the absurdist writings of David Mamet to the bizarre iconography of Hairy Who, Chicago has been home to odd, eccentric, and uncanny forms of artistic and literary expression. Is this penchant for the surreal merely happenstance, or can we identify a confluence of socioeconomic, political, and aesthetic forces that made Chicago a breeding...


Starting: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Wednesdays, February 25 – April 15
Victorian Style: British Fashion and Fiction 1850 to 1900
Led by Debra Mancoff

Seminar Description

This seminar will explore dress as a key to character in four iconic Victorian novels (Great Expectations, Lady Audley’s Secret, Far from the Madding Crowd, and The Picture of Dorian Gray). Behind the era’s elaborate etiquette and strict ideas of gender and class, the Victorian dress code allowed...


Starting: Thursday, February 26, 2015
February 26 - April 16
Endgame or Arcadia? European Drama 1950-present
Led by Todd Bauer

Seminar Description

In this lecture- and discussion-based seminar, we will examine the rich period of European theater from mid-twentieth century to the present. Major themes and movements in European drama during this period will emerge in the existentialism of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, in the innovations of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, and in the...


Starting: Saturday, February 28, 2015
Saturdays, February 28 - April 25 (class will not meet on April 4)
Early Opera: Music, Drama, and Society from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
Led by Brian Oberlander

Seminar Description

Explore the origins and early development of opera in Western Europe. We begin with the private courtly entertainments of the Renaissance, when music and theater were intertwined with myth, magic, and royal ceremony. We end with the star-studded commercial enterprises of the Enlightenment, along with the divas, impresarios, and chattering...


Starting: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Thursdays, April 2 – May 7
Toni Morrison's Beloved
Led by Linda Levine

Seminar Description

A 2006 New York Times survey of writers and literary critics found Toni Morrison’s Beloved to be the best work of American fiction of the previous 25 years. An enthralling and shocking work of historical fiction, Beloved portrays a woman and her children’s escape from slavery—and the aftermath. In the seminar, we...


Starting: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Saturdays, April 18-May 9
The Golovlyov Family and Satirical Tales by Shchedrin
Led by Julia Denne

Seminar Description

We will examine Shchedrin’s The Golovlyov Family, one of the least-known great nineteenth-century Russian novels, and several tales that demonstrate Shchedrin’s gift as a satirist. Exploring this masterpiece of unsentimental naturalism, we will encounter Porphyry Golovlyov, a classic hypocrite and Shchedrin’s most original creation....