Quest Learning Community

A communal learning experience for adults
designed to expand one's intellectual and social world.

Literature

These courses are offered by the Quest Lifelong Learning Community. For more information on Quest, click here and also see more details at the bottom of this page.

BLEAK HOUSE

Coordinators: Lynnel Garabedian, Sanford Kessler

Bleak House is considered by some scholars to be the finest novel of Charles Dickens. A long-standing court case involving enormous consequences for many characters is the focus of the story and provides Dickens with a plot device to expose the corruption and injustice of Victorian England’s legal system. This compelling novel with relevance for today includes intrigue, suspense and murder, but also love and compassion. Bleak House will be
a yearlong discussion course. The Norton Critical edition is preferred.

CONTEMPORARY POETRY

Coordinators:  Betty Farber, Martha Drezin, Frieda Lipp

Contemporary poetry enriches the lives of its readers. Join us to learn about it, how to read it, and which poets to look out for. Class members choose poems to present in class. The poems are read and discussed.

CONTEMPORARY SHORT STORIES

Coordinators: Nancy Richardson, Mary Buchwald, Frieda Lipp

At each session, two class members present stories from The O’Henry Prize Stories, 2015 Edition. Stories are also selected by the coordinators or other members. Background information is given and discussion follows.

FASCINATING NON-FICTION

Coordinators: Harriet Finkelstein, Bob Reiss

At each session, the presenter will tell you about a book you always wanted to read or about a book you never heard of but will be glad that you now have. Selections range from transit maps to Mt. Everest expeditions, American politics, Western women’s diaries, young Ernest Hemingway, black migration, the sinking of the Lusitania, Frank Sinatra, American restaurants, the evolution of mankind. Every semester an eclectic array of fascinating non-fiction awaits its audience.

GREAT CONVERSATIONS

Coordinators: Jane Lubin, Larry Shapiro

Great Conversations offers readings by contemporary and classic authors and lively class discussions. This term will include Simone de Beauvoir’s introduction to The Second Sex, Grace Paley’s An Interest in Life, Selected Poems by Wislawa Szymborska, Michel Foucault’s The Body of the Condemned, and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

GREAT PLAYS

Coordinators: Roy Clary, Wayne Cotter, Frieda Lipp

Leading American and European plays are presented. Each session begins with a brief biography of the playwright followed by a “stage reading” of the play in an edited form. The audience is encouraged to share their insights.

ORAL INTERPRETATION OF POETRY

Coordinators: Art Spar, Roy Clary, Mary Ann Donnelly, Sheryl Harawitz

In a fun, creative, supportive environment, poetry will come alive as participants read aloud and interpret poetry. This semester we will travel back to the 19th century, and immerse ourselves in the poetry, life and times of Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Bronte, and Emily Dickinson. Study topics will include meter, rhyme, alliteration and other prosodic elements that influence a poem’s “sound meaning”.

A SAMPLING OF ISRAELI LITERATURE

Coordinators: Martha Drezin, Mary Ann Donnelly, Art Spar

In this discussion course, we will read A Tale of Love and Darkness, a memoir by Amos Oz, to get a taste of Israeli life in the final years of the British Mandate and early years of Israel. We will also sample the work of David Grossman, A.B. Yehoshua, Mahmoud Darwish and other fine Israeli poets and essayists from diverse time periods and factions. We will discuss each work in terms of its artistry, meanings and the context in which it emerged. We begin with writers from the 1920s and work our way to contemporary literature.

SHAKESPEARE

Coordinators: Roy Clary, Sondra Lipton Sahlman

The class will read aloud and discuss The Tragedy of King Richard
III. Written in 1592, it concludes the three parts of Henry VI. It is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works and the title character’s wickedness is the object of our fascinated attention. A supreme villain, Richard is evil incarnate. He is shrewd and unscrupulous, brutal and arrogant. Behaving with unrestrained energy and versatility, he is brilliantly theatrical with a charisma that totally captivates. The Folger Library Edition is the preferred text.

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