Classics Books Lecture Series
The 2014 season of our popular Classics Books Lecture Series featured distinguished, award-winning professors from The University of Michigan Department of English and Literature surveying classic books.
Lectures are on Thursdays at the Ewald Branch Library Meeting Room at 7 p.m.
- February 6 George Bornstein: Thucydides' Peloponnesian War in America
- February 20 Theresa Tinkle: Chaucer's Knight's Tale
- March 6 Enoch Brater: Hamlet's Five Soliloquies
- March 20 Ralph Williams: a lecture relating to Shakespeare
- April 3 Gregg Crane: a sampling of poetry by Emily Dickinson
- May 1 John Whittier-Ferguson: Gertrude Stein, "Three LIves" (1909) - see notes below from the lecturer
Admission at the Door (no pre-sales) Reservations appreciated at 313.343.2074 x 204 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Friends’ Member: Free
- Non-Members: $10. per lecture
- Students and Teachers: Free with identification.
One may enjoy the lectures without having read the books, but will undoubtedly be inspired after attending these lectures, which are followed by an informal discussion. Everyone from teenagers to octogenarians and beyond have attended these talks by the University of Michigan professors, who each bring a wealth of fascinating literary and historical information.
To join the Friends of the Grosse Pointe Public Library and attend any or all of the lectures at no charge, please complete a membership form.
In addition to the free Classics Books Lecture Series you will be notified of and invited to participate in additional Friends' sponsored library events. Your Friends' membership fee/donation will support unique programs and purchases for the Grosse Pointe Public Libraries.
Additional Gertrude Stein information/preparation from Professor John Whittier-Ferguson:
- The Wikipedia page on her life is just fine: a good place to start.
- Roughly contemporary with Three Lives is Picasso's fine portrait of Stein. The account accompanying this portrait contains one of my favorite lines about art and the power of art to shape and anticipate its changing subject: "When someone commented that Stein did not look like her portrait, Picasso replied, 'She will.'"
- Here's an online edition of the essay, "Composition as Explanation" which Stein delivered (to bafflement, applause, and general approval) at Oxford and Cambridge in 1926.
- Here's a retrospective interview with Stein, made in 1946, shortly before her death.
- "Three Lives" is in some ways referring to Flaubert's "Trois Contes" -- particularly the first story, "Un Coeur Simple."
- But what's most important, I think, for reading Three Lives is understanding that the narrator of these stories is NOT Stein, but is instead a narrator whose assumptions about these three women -- all lacking various kinds of social power, all dispossessed and cast aside in various ways -- does not in important respects do them "justice." It will be our project to understand how this book works, what its narrative principles are, and why Stein is telling these stories as she does.