Literature

Walt Whitman: “The Good Grey Poet”

Whitman sought to create “a new gospel of beauty”: a uniquely American voice. He escaped the Classic Structures demanded of verse, and gave us the free form voice that has become standard today. His work influenced the beat movement (Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg), anti-war poets & even Bram Stoker (Dracula). Whitman, a volunteer in military hospitals during the civil war, mourned the assassination of President Lincoln with the well-known “Captain, oh my Captain. His last days were spent in Camden, NJ and in his refuge in nature at the Stafford Farm and Timber Creek.

American Historical Theatre
A nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Our Own

How we interpret our cultural icons reveals to us who and what we are. Making use of selections from Hamlet and the critical and performance readings the play has inspired, this discussion evaluates how Shakespeare’s tragedy has been variously interpreted throughout the last century.

Michael Basile, Ph.D.
Professor, New Jersey City University

Program only available in Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties.

Put Up Your Flukes and Fight Like a Man! The Relevance of Moby-Dick

Is the story of Capt. Ahab’s mad pursuit of a seemingly malevolent whale relevant today? Passages from works Melville wrote within a few years of 1851, when Moby-Dick was published, reveal his acute awareness of sexual harassment, rape, homelessness, mental illness, alcoholism, child abuse and slavery. Melville’s anguish over such problems is a driving force in the creation of Moby-Dick.

Loren F. Schmidtberger, Ph.D.
Professor of English, St. Peter’s College

Program only available in Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Sussex counties.

American Jewish Literature

Lecture focuses on major American Jewish writers, both early writers Abraham Cahan and Mary Antin and more recent writers Philip Roth, I.B. Singer, Saul Bellow, and Bernard Malamud. Lectures may consider parallels and contrasts between Jewish writers and other ethnic writers such as African-Americans, Hispanics, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, and Asian-Americans. Another area of interest will be what is somewhat distinctive about the literature of American Jews, who constitute both an ethnic group and a religion.

Michael Aaron Rockland, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, Rutgers University

Program generally available in Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties; other counties are available with speaker’s consideration. Este programa está disponible en español.

The Literature of Italian American Women

A lecture on the emergence of the literature of Italian American women in multiple contexts, from the history of immigration and the labor movement to the feminist movement and multiculturalism.

Edvige Giunta
Professor of English, New Jersey City University

Program available in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties.

Write your Memoir Five Minutes at a Time

Have you been thinking about writing your own memoir but you don’t know how to get started? Or, when you try, you feel there’s a gap between what you want to say and the words you put down on paper? This workshop will help you begin—or expand—your memoir journey. You will learn how to tap into your memory and create and piece together moments of your life literally “five minutes at a time.” From writing prompts that will bring out stories you didn’t even know you carried inside you to lessons in the craft of memoir to suggestions on how to develop and sustain a writing practice, Edvige Giunta’s workshop is packed with useful and inspiring activities that will help the memoirist in you blossom.

Edvige Giunta
Professor of English, New Jersey City University

Program available in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties.

Trash, Blacks and Ladies in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!

A discussion of the novel’s focus on the conflict between society’s classifications of people and their own natural sense of self. Although socially disfranchised, some landless whites, blacks and women develop a strong sense of identity, only to make the traumatic discovery that they are nonetheless regarded in terms of the negative stereotypes of the day.

Loren F. Schmidtberger, Ph.D.
Professor of English, St. Peter’s College

Program only available in Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Sussex counties.

Flannery O’Connor’s: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

Grandmother’s outdated genteel values are tested by a killer’s theological questioning. Discussion will focus on O’Connor’s own explanation of the shocking conclusion of this short story.

Loren F. Schmidtberger, Ph.D.
Professor of English, St. Peter’s College

Program only available in Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Sussex counties.

Shakespearean Fathers and Daughters

The conflict between fathers and daughters occupies center stage in many of Shakespeare’s plays, comedies, tragedies, and romances alike. Astonishingly, Shakespeare consistently favors his young women – Juliet, Hermia, Desdemona, Cordelia, and Perdita – despite the prevailing patriarchy of his society. This presentation examines the biographical, cultural, and theatrical reasons behind this predilection.

Michael Basile, Ph.D.
Professor, New Jersey City University

Program only available in Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties.

The Holocaust in the American Jewish Novel

A review of three key novels, I.B. Singer’s Enemies: A Love Story, William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice, and Edward Lewis Wallant’s The Pawnbroker. The lecture examines parallels and contrasts among the three works and what they tell us not only about the Holocaust but about American values and attitudes.

Michael Aaron Rockland, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, Rutgers University

Program generally available in Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties; other counties are available with speaker’s consideration. Este programa está disponible en español.

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