If you’re within a comfortable distance of Washington D.C., check out the seminar I’m doing at the Smithsonian on May 1:
The Well-Educated Mind: A Self-Guided Classical Education
Sat., May 1, 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
$77 Senior Member
$131 Gen. Admission
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This seminar offers a welcome antidote to the distractions of our age, electronic and otherwise. It is a roadmap for a classical education for the adult reader who seeks both enjoyment and self-improvement.
Scholar Susan Wise Bauer includes brief, entertaining histories of four literary genres: fiction, autobiography, history, and dramaâ€”with instructions on how to read each. Learn how to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. The Novel
A history of the novel, beginning with Don Quixote, Pilgrimâ€™s Progress, and Pride and Prejudice, and ending with Don DeLillo and A.S. Byatt. What to look for when reading a novel; what questions to ask; how to find the argument in the story.
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Autobiography
Similarities between autobiographers and novelists, and the unexpected complications of writing autobiography; questions to ask the writer; a survey of great autobiographies and their common threads. The Confessions of St. Augustine, Thoreauâ€™s Walden, and Elie Wieselâ€™s memoir All Rivers Run to the Sea.
12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Lunch
Participants provide their own lunch.
1:30 to 2:45 p.m. History
How history writing has changed since ancient times; an introduction to significant works of Western history and the connections and tensions among them. Platoâ€™s Republic, Paineâ€™s Common Sense, and Woodward and Bernsteinâ€™s All the Presidentâ€™s Men.
3 to 4:15 p.m. Drama
Plays are meant to be performed, not read. Learn how to see drama with your mindâ€™s eye as you follow the evolution of the play, from the dramas of the Greeks and the morality plays of the Middle Ages through Stoppard and Shaffer.
Bauer, a historian and writer, teaches at the College of William and Mary, and is the author of The History of the Ancient World, The History of the Medieval World, and The Well-Educated Mind, which are available for signing at the program.
If you’re interested, you can visit the registration page here.