Courses – Literature

PLEASE NOTE THAT BOOKINGS FOR COURSES WILL CLOSE AT 12 NOON ON THE FRIDAY OF THE WEEK BEFORE THE COURSE STARTS. UNFORTUNATELY, WE CANNOT ACCEPT BOOKINGS AFTER THAT TIME.

DANTE ALIGHIERI AND THE DIVINE COMEDY

Renato Ammannati

Starts: Tuesday 5 October 2.00 pm – 4.00pm, 5 weeks

Fees: £40/£35 Code: 05 104

On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the death of the Supreme Poet (as Dante Alighieri is also known in Italy), this course introduces the reading of his masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. As this epic poem is too vast and complex to be examined in five classes, this course will focus on Dante’s fascinating life and cover only the initial part of the Divine Comedy, Inferno.

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THE WORLD THROUGH LITERATURE

Various tutors

Starts: Thursday 7 October 10.00 am – 12.00 pm, 9 weeks

Fees: £63/£72 Code: 05 103

Literature is the silent witness to our society, its past, present and possible future. We escape into books. We read to learn and we read to be entertained.

More than a book club, this course features literature from across the genres.

Each week a different tutor selects a piece of work by a favourite writer to interpret and provoke the imagination through stimulating presentation and class discussion.

  • The Library of The Dead by T.L. Huchu
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • Memorial by Alice Oswald
  • Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
  • Gender-A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele
  • Staying Alive, Real Poems for Unreal Times by Neil Ashley
  • The Copenhagen Trilogy, Childhood, Youth, Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen
  • Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
  • The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson

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UNCOVERING THE CLASSICS

Eric Summers

Starts: Tuesday 16 November 10.00 am – 12.00pm, 4 weeks

Fee: £32/£28 Code: 05 123

Certain novels are known as “classics” because they have “survived”. Many books are quickly forgotten but those that endure usually do so because they are really good and have been enjoyed by several generations of readers. Their titles and their authors are widely known and often quoted.  In truth, though, there are plenty of “classics” which need to be revisited. Maybe we never actually got round to reading them, even though we rather wish we had. Others we read when we were young and perhaps did not fully appreciate them.  This short course aims to look again at four novels. The life and work of the author will be examined before focusing on the book itself and the issues it raises: often surprisingly relevant today. Time will be left for discussion.

There is no requirement to read the novels before joining the group – plots will be summarised with no spoilers! – but the hope would be that participants will be inspired to pick up these books in the near future. Of the novels included, two are long, one of average length and one very short: a good mix.

  • Alexandre Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo (a simply wonderful story of revenge)
  • H G Wells: The Time Machine (not just for science fiction aficionados)
  • Kenneth Grahame: The Wind in the Willows (definitely not just for children)
  • George Eliot: Middlemarch (the greatest English novel?)

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