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For our April Book Club, we will attend the Great Books Symposium featuring Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.   The symposium will be on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.  More information on the Symposium will be forthcoming from Donovan Braud, associate professor of English and coordinator of the Great Books concentration.

Best of luck to Professor Braud and to all the students involved.

 

 

Please join us on Wednesday March 25, 2015 when we discuss The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.   We will meet at 11:30 a.m.  in room 1550.

From Wiki –

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play’s humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde’s artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde’s most enduringly popular play.

Characters

  • Jack Worthing
    A young gentleman from the country, in love with Gwendolen Fairfax.
  • Algernon Moncrieff
    A young gentleman from London, the nephew of Lady Bracknell, in love with Cecily Cardew.
  • Gwendolen Fairfax
    A young lady, loved by Jack Worthing.
  • Lady Bracknell
    A society lady, Gwendolen’s mother.
  • Cecily Cardew
    A young lady, the ward of Jack Worthing.
  • Miss Prism
    Cecily’s governess
  • The Reverend Canon Chasuble
    The priest of Jack’s parish
  • Lane
    Algernon’s butler
  • Merriman
    Jack’s servant.

We will be reading the three act text of The importance of Being Earnest which can be found on http://www.gutenberg.org/files/844/844-h/844-h.htm and an audio version at https://librivox.org/the-importance-of-being-earnest-by-oscar-wilde/.

Please join us on Wednesday February 25, 2015 when we discuss Kristin Lavransdatter I. The Wreath by Sigrid Undset translation by Tiina Nunnally.  We will meet at 11:30 am in room 1550.

From PenguinClassics.com –

When The Wreath first appeared in English, the New York Times hailed it as “strong and dramatic, founded upon those emotions and impulses which belong not to any especial time or country, but to all humanity.” Against the background of a society ruled by centuries-old Norse traditions and the strictures of the Catholic Church (first established in Norway in tenth century), Undset tells the story of a headstrong young woman who defies the expectations of her much-beloved father, the lessons of her priest, and conventions of society when she is captivated by a charming and dangerously impetuous man. The courtship of Kristin Lavransdatter and Erlend Nikulaussøn is a far cry from the idealistic romances found in the historical novels of writers like Sir Walter Scott. Although she is betrothed to another man and is living in a convent, Kristin and Erlend manage to escape watchful eyes and give free rein to their love and their sexual impulses. When they are finally allowed to wed, they discover that the repercussions of their rebellious behavior are not easily put to rest.

The version below contains the entire trilogy.  NOTE – we will be reading The Wreath which is the first part.

Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

 

 

Please join us on Wednesday January 28, 2015 when we discuss A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.  We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in room 1550.

From Random House –

Ernest J. Gaines’s award-winning novel is set in a small Louisiana Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins has returned home from college to the plantation school to teach children whose lives promise to be not much better than Jefferson’s. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.

In a story whose eloquence, thematic richness, and moral resonance have called forth comparisons to the work of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Faulkner, Gaines summons the reader to confront the entire bitter history of black people in the South—and, by extension, America as a whole. A Lesson Before Dying is about the ways in which people declare the value of their lives in a time and place in which those lives seemingly count for nothing. It is about the ways in which the imprisoned may find freedom even in the moment of their death. Gaines’s novel transcends its minutely evoked circumstances to address the basic predicament of what it is to be a human being, a creature striving for dignity in a universe that often denies it.

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Please join us on Wednesday December 17, 2014 when we discuss The Chimes, by Charles Dickens.  We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in room 2537.

From Wiki –

The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, a short novel by Charles Dickens, was written and published in 1844, one year after A Christmas Carol and one year before The Cricket on the Hearth. It is the second in his series of “Christmas books”: five short books with strong social and moral messages that he published during the 1840s.

Other discussion topics include: books we’ve read this year and would recommend to others, and books on our wish lists.

Please join us on Wednesday November 19, 2014 when we discuss The Hound of the Baskervilles, by A. Conan Doyle.  We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in room 2537.

Project Gutenberg’s The Hound of the Baskervilles,  Chapter One –  “Mr. Sherlock Holmes”,  by A. Conan Doyle  –

“Really, Watson, you excel yourself,” said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. “I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.”

He had never said as much before, and I must admit that his words gave me keen pleasure, for I had often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts which I had made to give publicity to his methods. I was proud, too, to think that I had so far mastered his system as to apply it in a way which earned his approval. He now took the stick from my hands and examined it for a few minutes with his naked eyes. Then with an expression of interest he laid down his cigarette, and carrying the cane to the window, he looked over it again with a convex lens.

“Interesting, though elementary,” said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee. “There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick. It gives us the basis for several deductions.”

“Has anything escaped me?” I asked with some self-importance. “I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?”

“I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. Not that you are entirely wrong in this instance. The man is certainly a country practitioner. And he walks a good deal.”

 Elementary.

Please join us on Wednesday October 29, 2014 when we discuss The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  We will meet at 12:30 p.m. in room 1550.

From Penguin Classics:

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Happy Birthday Book Club!  6 years old.

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