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Workforce Development & Continuing Education

Literature and Writing Courses

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Lifelong Learning  Class Schedule How to Register

Lifelong Learning Literature and Writing Courses

Lifelong Learning courses are designed primarily for students age 50 and over. Not all listed courses are offered each semester. See schedule of Lifelong Learning classes to find current schedules, location, dates, and costs.

The American Experience in Film and Literature, ILL661 – Hours: 18

This course will cover five or six modern and traditional American classics as we explore the American Experience in book and film. Each of the six sessions will involve seeing the film and discussing each genre in terms of content, moral or ethical decisions, adaptations, and universal themes with the intent to define the American Experience. There will be a variety of film types and issues that Americans are facing or have faced in the past. Some of the literature will be short due to time constraints, unlike our first two books and films Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick and Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The remaining novellas or plays will be much shorter, one of which will be Inherit the Wind, a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The remaining list will be distributed at the beginning of the spring semester. Whether you have read these books before or are reading them for the first time, you will be enriched by the insights and analysis through class discussion. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

Appalachian Tales, Truth, and Fiction, ILL656 – Hours: 18

Listen to the voices of some mountain people to learn truth through fiction. The people who live in the hills and mountains of the Appalachians have often been dismissed as ignorant, shiftless “hillbillies;” the sort of people made famous by the cartoon of Li’l Abner and his family. What is it really like to live in these mountains? Why do people stay there so tenaciously? Explore how some of the writers of the area see themselves and their place in history. You will read and discuss Lee Smith’s Oral History, Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven, Fred Chappell’s I Am One of You Forever, mystery writer Sharyn McCrumb’s She Walks These Hills, and a few shorter selections. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

The English Romantic Poets, Course: ILL681, 10 Hours

In this short course we will consider works by the major English poets of the Romantic Period: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats, Shelley, with the emphasis on Wordworth and Keats. The course is designed for people who would like to know more about how to read poetry or who would like to know more about these poets, whose work has always remained popular. Class participants should purchase and bring to class a good anthology of English poetry, such as the Norton Anthology of English Poetry or of Romantic poetry, such as English Romantic Poetry, edited by Stanley Appelbaum (available inexpensively from a variety of sources). Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

Representations of Racial, Religious, and Cultural Differences:  Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, and Othello, ILL648 – Hours: 12

In this Course, you will explore Shakespeare’s representation of Others, or cultural outsiders through your reading of Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, and Othello. In Titus Andronicus, Aaron, the Moor is black and an outsider. However, his lover, Tamora, Queen of the Goths, is racially marked as conspicuously White, and she is also “othered” as a woman. Their mixed-race baby, the result of miscegenation, represents another position on the racial spectrum. Shylock, the Jew, is an alien in a Christian society whose religion, pleasures, and attitudes are radically different from his own. How does Shakespeare balance these two worlds: Christian and Jewish? Finally, you will look at the cultural outsiders in Othello: Othello, the Moor; Cassio, the Florentine; and Desdemona, the desiring woman. We will watch clips from Julie Taymor’s 1999 film, Titus, and Michael Radford’s 2004 film of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino as Shylock. Participants will be expected to have read each of the plays before the sessions dealing with them. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

International Short Stories II, ILL645 – Hours: 20

“Unlike the novel, a short story may be, for all purposes, essential.” –Jorge Luis Borges. Daniel Halpern, writer, teacher, and editor, quotes Borges and values the short story’s “singular purity and magic, its devotion to the crucial—though often eccentric and enigmatic—moments in human life.” In this class we will read short stories written by some of the best modern authors. By discussing the stories and sharing our insights, we will learn more about this art form and how to evaluate and to enjoy the authors’ presentations. This course is a continuation, but separate session, of International Short Stories. It is not necessary to have taken part one. We will read and discuss different stories from The Art of the Tale, edited by Daniel Halpern, Penguin Books, 1986. The anthology includes short stories from important writers from all around the world, including writers such as Ian McEwan, England; Vladimir Nabokov, Russia; Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Columbia; Cynthia Ozick, and John Updike, the U.S. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

French Literature of the Late 19th Century, ILL663 – Hours: 12

Read short prose and poems written by some of the best French authors of the second part of the 19th century. By discussing the prose and poems and sharing insights, you will learn more about this time period and how to evaluate and to enjoy the authors’ writings. You will also analyze the plot, illustrate literary form, and discuss character development. The selections will come from La peur de Guy de Maupassant, Le bateau ivre d’Arthur Rimbaud and Les Correspondances de Charles Baudelaire. Additionally, the anthology includes short stories from important writers from late 19th century French Literature including Stephane Mallarme, Alphonse Daudet, and Paul Verlaine. Recommended textbooks: French Poetry: 1820-1950 with prose translations (Penguin classics) by Various and William Rees, and Nineteenth Century French Short Stories (Dual-Language) by Stanley Appelbaum. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

Some Great Novels of Our Lifetime, ILL655 – Hours: 12

Please join us in reading a half dozen short novels, novelettes, and groups of short stories written during the adult lifetime of the class participants. These “readings” have proven to have “staying power” and are worth continuing to read, think, and talk about. Most have won major book awards. They can easily be read in a week. The Course is, in essence, a book club more sophisticated than most. It aims to take advantage of both the reading experience and the life experiences of the class participants to consider both the literary qualities of the readings and the ways they resonate with readers. Students should read Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize winning novella The Sense of an Ending for the first class. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

Stories of Faith, Course: ILL688, 12 Hours

How do people experience faith? How do they keep it? How does it affect their lives and the lives of the others in their lives? Read and discuss stories from the book, Faith: Stories. Short fiction on the Varieties and Vagaries of Faith. We will also explore the different writing styles as an art form. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

The Story of Scripture: Hebrew Bible and New Testament, Course: ILL689, 10 Hours

What’s in Scripture? Who wrote the Bible? Follow the fascinating story of the composition, canonization, and transmission of the Western canon of Scripture from the Dead Sea Scrolls the modern English translations of the Bible. The class includes a field trip to the Library of Congress’s Bibles Exhibition, featuring the fifteenth-century Giant Bible of Mainz (1453) and Gutenberg Bible (1455). Required book: a Bible, any version. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

Exploring Science Fiction, ILL659 – Hours: 6

Join us for a celebration of the science fiction novel. Take a tour of some of the great classics and bestsellers in scifi. Discover the real science behind some of the hottest science fiction trends. See what happens when Hollywood adapts science fiction stories for the big screen. Best of all, go home with a stellar sci-fi Recommended Reading list! Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

Historical Book Discussions, ILL657 – Hours: 8

Analyze important recent studies in history. This course is for all students with a general interest in Western history and cutting-edge work in the field. This semester we look at Thomas Jefferson through the lens of Jon Meacham’s New York Times bestseller, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (Random House, 2012). The book provides a fair treatment of a complex subject, addressing his monumental achievements for the United States (including the Declaration of Independence) and his controversial position on slavery. Major themes include Jefferson and the Enlightenment, life at Monticello, Jefferson and religion, the American Revolution, and slavery. Tuition waiver applies; seniors pay fee only.

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