Articles by: Melanie Blake

“Three things extremely hard”

“Three things extremely hard”

by Gary Schoepfel, leader of the 2020 Toronto Pursuits seminar The Proper Study of Mankind is Man You’ll read it on tattooed bodies. It makes an appearance in the Matrix films. It was a Delphic maxim echoed by Aeschylus, Socrates and Plato. It shows up in political writings, paintings, anatomical […]

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From (19th-century) Russia, with Love

From (19th-century) Russia, with Love

by Sean Forester, leader of our September 2019 trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg For many of us, the images we have formed of Russia are rooted in Soviet times: We picture a tyrannical and bureaucratic country full of dreary buildings. Or maybe our images come from Hollywood and its […]

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Beyond the Femme Fatale

Art for The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by Michel Landi

by Joyce Wayne, novelist and leader of Toronto Pursuits 2020 seminar Women Spies in Cold War Fiction A remarkable study showing that 70 percent of the world’s fake news and digital media manipulation emanates from Russia was recently published by The Economist. The finding takes me back to the Cold […]

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Life Writ Large: Guillaume Apollinaire

Life Writ Large: Guillaume Apollinaire

There will be no shortage of forceful personalities on the Classical Pursuits trip They Came to Paris: Literature 1910–1940. The French capital nurtured and attracted strivers, artists, dreamers, writers and flâneurs of all kinds. We will meet many of them, from Hemingway and Stein to Picasso to Kiki of Montparnasse. […]

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Verse for Passover and Easter

Verse for Passover and Easter

[Editor’s note: In honour of Passover and Easter, we are reposting several poems Ann first shared back in 2011, the year of the January 25 Revolution in Egypt. We wish you a lovely holiday weekend!] April may be cruel. It certainly seems so here in Toronto where we are seeing […]

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Philosophy in the World: Interview with Toronto Pursuits Leader Wendy O’Brien

Philosophy in the World: Interview with Toronto Pursuits Leader Wendy O’Brien

We are very happy to welcome new leader Wendy O’Brien to Toronto Pursuits. Participants in her seminar The Second Sex 70 Years Later dig deep into this major work—and into their own lived experience—of what it means to be a woman or a man.  Classical Pursuits director Melanie recently talked […]

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Chekhov Three Ways

Chekhov Three Ways

[Editor’s note: We warmly welcome back Sean Forester, a longtime seminar leader, to Toronto Pursuits. Sean will serve up a delicious blend of literature, art, and film in his seminar on one of the most important playwrights and short story writers in world literature.] It will come as no surprise […]

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Medieval Stories, Modern Pilgrimages

Medieval Stories, Modern Pilgrimages

[Editor’s note: We warmly welcome Denise Ahlquist back to Toronto Pursuits. A senior consultant at the Great Books Foundation, Denise has been a longtime leader of discussion groups for children and adults. Join her on an unforgettable journey in her seminar on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.] “When April comes and with […]

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Art à la Mode

Elizabeth I, c. 1576-78

[Editor’s note: Every year Betty Ann Jordan brings colour and style to Toronto Pursuits, and 2019 will be no exception. Join her for Seeing Through Clothes, a seminar that weaves art and history into a larger exploration of what clothes say about us.] Lingering in front of a historical portrait, […]

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By the pricking of my thumbs …

By the pricking of my thumbs …

… a Great Books weekend this way comes. Explore all manners of literary wickedness at the Great Books Foundation’s annual Chicago weekend, May 3 to 5, 2019. Book lovers from across North America will gather to discuss four readings that centre on the wickedness people contemplate and perpetrate: The Handmaid’s […]

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