Rachel writes: Room at the table

Hello: My name is Rachel, and I’m in the Master of Liberal Arts program.

Last evening, I was struck by Dean Shinagel’s graciousness, focus on substance rather than form, and depth of knowledge during the first meeting of his “Classic English Fictions Reconsidered” seminar. A few more people than expected showed up—“if there’s room at the table, you’re in”—was the generous response. Good start.

Though I am an art history/visual arts concentrator, I chose this course as an “elective seminar,” one of the degree requirements, because the reading list was so compelling, as was the notion of “reconsideration” of works of fiction which we may not have re-read since childhood. How will we see “Robinson Crusoe” or “Emma” or “Lord Jim” now, as adults long lost to our professions, our diversions, to a million other pursuits? It is always striking to me how preoccupation with a good novel can completely displace the quotidian and force a reassessment of the very way one understands life. But the nature of this sense can change with subsequent readings of the same text. I think that’s the core notion of this course.

This year, courses are starting a bit earlier than they typically have, but autumn likewise seems to have arrived ahead of schedule!

%d bloggers like this: