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.

 

CONTEMPORARY POETRY

Coordinators: Joe Nathan, Betty Farber, Stan Raffes

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, Art Spar

Great Conversations offers readings by both contemporary and classic authors. Some of those we will discuss are Chaucer, Balzac, Tolstoy and Hume.

 

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.

 

THE NOVELS OF ANTHONY TROLLOPE

Coordinators: Leslie Fenchel, Joyce West, Sandra Southwell

Trollope’s novels are full of humor and cover the breadth of British society from clerks to dukes and everyone in between, taking his readers from grand country estates to mean lodgings in London. He portrays nearly every profession: medicine, law, stock trade, clergy (from curate to bishop), journalist, haberdasher. In the fall semester, we will read The Warden and Barchester Towers from Trollope’s Barsetshire series, which is said to be a model for Eliot’s Middlemarch.

 

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 by African American poets. We will immerse ourselves in the poetry, life and times of Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Tracy K. Smith, James Baldwin, Countee Cullen, Audre Lorde, and Derek Walcott. The syllabus will include a peek into African poetry. Study topics will include meter, rhyme, alliteration and other prosodic elements that influence a poem’s “sound meaning”.

 

READING THE NOVELLA

Coordinators: Martha Drezin, Mary Ann Donnelly, Art Spar

The novella offers an intense, detailed exploration of its subject, providing both the concentrated focus of the short story and the broader scope of the novel. As such, it provides an ideal impetus for discussion. We will discuss three critically acclaimed novellas: Billy Budd by Herman Melville, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. Each novella will be considered over a period of two classes, giving participants a chance to reflect on and discuss relevant themes.

 

SHAKESPEARE

Coordinators: Roy Clary, Sondra Lipton Sahlman

The class will read aloud and discuss Julius Caesar, a work that is probably as relevant today as ever. The theme of the play is not so much the life and death of a dictator as the mind and motives of Caesar’s murderers. One conspirator, Brutus, is universally admired as a genuine idealist. But he has a conflict of ideals: to live under the tyranny of Caesar is to allow a wrong, but to kill Caesar is to commit a wrong. Should a high-minded idealist lead a revolution that begins with murder? Today’s political climate is reflected in recent dramatic productions of the play.

 

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