Programs and Events | Newberry

Programs and Events

The Newberry offers programming in the humanities for scholars, teachers, and the general public. Unless otherwise noted, events are free, and no reservations are required. Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

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E.g., 08/24/2019
E.g., 08/24/2019
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Led by Jill Gage. Six sessions 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
n the 300 years since it was first published, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe has never been out of print. Semi-based on a true story, the novel is one of adventure and contemplation, and Crusoe is by turns traveler and castaway; mariner and builder; slave and slave owner; hermit and companion. The novel has been endlessly adapted and abridged and has influenced writers…
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Led by Douglas Post. Six sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
The sound and attitude of rock, pop, and hip-hop have helped reinvent and reinvigorate the American musical theater. This seminar will focus on six shows that shook the world of Broadway, starting with the brash and raucous songs of Hair and finishing with the bold, rich, and rap-infused score of Hamilton.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Led by Riad Ismat. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
In this seminar, we will study a selection of major Arabic fiction writers and dramatists whose writing tackles corruption and tyranny, the two motives for the Arab Spring uprisings that began in 2011 and continue to this day in countries like Sudan. We will focus especially on the work of Egyptian, Syrian, and Tunisian writers, including…
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Led by Melinda Rooney. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
This seminar has been cancelled.
The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships, half-mortal and half-divine, Helen of Troy is defined in myth and history by who and what she was to others. This class seeks to understand Helen by granting to her character a more complex humanity. Readings will include…
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Led by Steven J. Venturino. Nine sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
To celebrate the Victorian author’s bicentenary, this seminar explores George Eliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch in manageable weekly installments—with no spoilers! The result will be an engaging in-depth look at Eliot’s literary technique and her insights into culture, science, art, and psychology…
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Led by Debra N. Mancoff. Four sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
The face of Pre-Raphaelite art was extraordinary: soulful eyes, pouting lips, and a magnificent crown of hair. Through paintings, primary documents, archival photographs, historic dress, and contemporary poetry and prose, this seminar explores the ideas and ideals of this image, as well as the fascinating women…
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Led by Richard Reeder. Six sessions 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
In this seminar, we will read, discuss, and analyze two of the greatest novels of crime and punishment set in Chicago: Richard Wright’s Native Son and Meyer Levin’s Compulsion. Although they differ in their treatments of race and class, both novels combine trenchant social commentary and psychological incisiveness with riveting courtroom drama…
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Led by Colleen English, PhD. Four sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
This year marks the bicentennial of the composition of John Keats’s greatest poems. From the Gothic tale of The Eve of St. Agnes, written in the winter, to the great odes composed during the spring, the year 1819 saw Keats creating many of the poems that established him as a major poetic figure. In this seminar, we will discuss…
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Led by Linda Levine. Eight sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
700 years after it first appeared, Dante’s Inferno still fascinates readers through its dramatization of the poet’s descent into Hell and its evocation of emotions like fear, anger, pity, and horror. In this course, we will read and discuss the Inferno, while seeking to understand the historical, religious, political, and artistic climates that influenced the work…
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Led by Todd Bauer. Eight sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
The present moment in American theater is one of its richest and most exciting. In this discussion- and lecture-based seminar, we will examine this moment by considering the plays of Tony Kushner, Martyna Majok, Tracy Letts, Paula Vogel, Neil LaBute, and others…
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Led by Eugene Newman. Six sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
The novels, plays, and short stories of the French existentialists have proven to be the most effective presentations of existentialist philosophy. In this course, we will undertake close readings of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea, and Albert Camus’s The Stranger
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne. Nine sessions. 10 am - noon.
In this seminar, we will read the two best-loved humorous novels of the early Soviet Union—The Twelve Chairs and The Little Golden Calf, by Ilf and Petrov—in order to generate a detailed satirical panorama of everyday Soviet life in the 1920s. Our guide through this landscape will be the protagonist Ostap Bender…
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Led by June Sawyers. Five sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
Conor McPherson has been called the finest playwright of his generation. Many of his plays focus on three topics: loneliness, shame, and drinking. Just as many of his plays emphasize the paranormal, the magical, and the mystical. This course will concentrate on McPherson’s supernatural plays
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Led by Susanne Dumbleton and Fred A. Wellisch. Seven sessions. 1 - 3 pm.
In Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean memorably describes her challenging role as spiritual advisor to two death row inmates and witness to their executions. Her memoir was turned into an award-winning film (aided by a powerful soundtrack) starring Susan Sarandon. Composer Jake Heggie then shaped the story into a poignant opera…
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Led by Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch. One session. 10 - 4 pm.
Sherlock Holmes has developed from a Victorian icon into a global phenomenon whose most recent incarnation is the hit TV series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. In this seminar, we will first trace the development of detective fiction before turning to Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories and his best-known Holmes novel…
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Led by Dagmar Herrmann. Seven sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
From their debut in Berlin in the 1780s to their appearance in 1930s California, women’s salons served as welcoming havens where women of all classes and creeds could openly debate art, music, literature, and politics. In this seminar, we will explore the history of a selection of salons—including salons frequented by Americans in 19th- and early 20th-century Paris…
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Led by Tom Irvine. Seven sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
Spy novels date back to the early 20th century, but some of the best have been written about the Cold War. Perhaps this is due to the prevalence of espionage in the period: covert action was seen by the Soviet Union and the West as providing a less risky and more cost effective way to make gains in the Cold War…
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Led by Harrison Sherrod. One session. 11 am - 4 pm (lunch break 1 - 2 pm)
The ghost is one of the most enduring motifs in storytelling, and is ubiquitous across epochs and cultures. Just in time for Halloween, this single-day interdisciplinary seminar will trace the history of the ghost in literature, film, and theater with an emphasis on examining how its symbolism has changed over time. We will unpack stories by…
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Led by John Nygro. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
This class has been cancelled.
At the end of his playwriting career, William Shakespeare wrote The Tempest—a play considered by some to be his farewell to the stage. In this seminar, we will read The Tempest and view video performances of the play while discussing its important themes…