Courses / 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.


Coordinators: Martha Drezin, Mary Ann Donnelly, Art Spar

We are excited to continue our discussion of Israeli literature. We will read short stories, poems, plays and essays by writers that represent different aspects of Israeli life during different eras. Presentations may include readings, dramatizations and other modalities designed to inspire class participation. Our goal is both an immersion in fine literature and a deeper understanding of the complexity of this vibrant country.


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.


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.


Coordinators: Lynnel Garabedian, Sanford Kessler

Daniel Deronda was George Eliot’s last book and her most controversial because of her sympathetic view of the plight of the Jews and the beginning Zionist movement. Set in Eliot’s own time, the 1860’s, the author presents an aristocratic degenerate English society marked by racial and religious prejudice. The story centers on two main characters — a compassionate adopted son of a wealthy man who searches for his true identity, and a haughty, beautiful young woman who makes a drastic mistake. Both characters, who become friends, must change their perceptions of the world and of themselves and seek personal and moral growth.


Coordinators: Patricia Geehr, Arlene Curinga

Edith Wharton (1862 – 1937), the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Age of Innocence, wrote of the tragedies and ironies of life, especially among members of aristocratic New York society in the 19th and early 20th century. Using the preferred 2020 Scribner edition, we will discuss The House of Mirth, the literary sensation that established Wharton’s reputation. Readings and discussion in the class will provide a “backward glance” into 19th and 20th century New York society.


Coordinators: Harriet Finkelstein, Jane Lubin, 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.


Coordinators: Jane Lubin, Larry Shapiro

Great Conversations is a continuing course published by the Great Books Foundation. It brings together some of the world’s best writing, ranging from classic to contemporary authors, addressing questions of perennial concern. Some of the authors we will read this semester include Immanuel Kant, William James, Shirley Jackson, and Clarice Lispector.


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.


Coordinators: Ruth Ward, Donna Basile

In this semester-long discussion class, presenters will introduce participants to plays by Spanish-speaking playwrights who deal with the often painful realities of modern life in Hispanic environments. Discussions will follow.


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. After five successful years, this semester will conclude a wonderful journey through the world of poetry. Class leaders will prepare a surprise list of poets worthy of a concluding semester. Study topics will include meter, rhyme, alliteration, and other prosodic elements that influence a poem’s “sound meaning”.