Small-Group Seminars | Various times, see individual programs for details
Our seminars are everything you love about learning with Classical Pursuits — focus on the text, emphasis on exploring meaning together, and a leader who asks questions to get you thinking — in virtual form. Online or in person, you’re part of a convivial community that gathers to read, watch, listen to and discuss compelling literature, art, music and film. Study works that move, provoke, unsettle and inspire.
Classical Pursuits offers a rare experience in continuing education. We deliberately differ from courses where a lecturer is teaching you about a topic. While our practiced leaders give context and help participants “think out loud”, the real teacher is the book, poem, painting or piece of music you’re studying.
At Classical Pursuits, we are always learning in community. We work together toward deeper understanding. If this kind of learning is new for you, know that you are not alone! We are always welcoming first-time participants, and can offer extra support to help you get started. Click here for more tips on preparing for seminar discussion.
You don’t need any previous study or specialized knowledge to participate in any of our seminars. The only prerequisites are to do the reading and come with an open mind.
Current Seminar Catalog | New seminars announced Mondays and/or Thursdays | Scroll over the tiles to learn more
More details soon
Online Presentations | Community Week July 19 to 23
We’re on a summer break for our webinars, but please join in the many free activities that are part of our Community Week, July 19–23. The week kicks off with a program on the nature of beauty, hosted by our Armchair Art Tours hosts Wendy O’Brien and Sean Forester. Midweek, we are thrilled to welcome Canadian novelist Frances Itani. We wrap up with a travel-themed pub quiz on Friday—a great way to meet other Classical Pursuits participants outside the seminar setting.
For recordings of past presentations, see our Archive page.
Friday Flash Fiction | Fridays at 5 p.m. Eastern | Free!
Join Classical Pursuits director Melanie Blake or longtime San Francisco Great Books Council leaders Louise DiMattio or Louise Morgan for a one-hour discussion of a classic or contemporary short story, with a selection that changes weekly. Explore a range of authors and genres. Bring your favourite drink and enjoy chatting with other readers.
How to join Friday Flash Fiction: Email Melanie to RSVP if you do not already have the recurring Zoom link. Please keep the Zoom link handy.
Many of our stories are from the anthology The Art of the Story. We strongly encourage you to get this anthology. Most stories will also be available online, and access details will be included for these stories.
- No meeting July 23
- Reading for July 16: “The Keeper of the Virgins” by Hanan Al-Shaykh, found on p. 9 of The Art of the Story or online here
- Reading for July 9: “Evermore” by Julian Barnes found on p. 73 of The Art of the Story
- Reading for June 25: “A Gift from Somewhere” by Ama Ata Aidoo, found on p. 1 of The Art of the Story or online via Scribd
- Reading for June 18: “The Farm” by Joy Williams, found on p. 608 of The Art of the Story or online here
- Reading for June 11: “Death of a Travelling Salesman” by Eudora Welty
- Reading for June 4: “The Lady with the Dog” by Anton Chekhov
- Reading for May 21: “The Shawl” by Cynthia Ozick
- Reading for May 14: “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Reading for May 7: “Brooksmith” by Henry James
- Reading for April 30: “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor
- Reading for April 23: “The End of the Party” by Graham Greene (story starts on p. 18 of the PDF)
- Reading for April 16: “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston
- Reading for April 9: “Homecoming” by Rabindranath Tagore
- Reading April 2: “My Sister’s Marriage” by Cynthia Marshall Rich
- Reading March 26: “Theft in a Pastry Shop” by Italo Calvino
- Reading March 19: “The Embassy of Cambodia” by Zadie Smith
- Reading for March 12: “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
- Reading for February 26: “Weekend” by Fay Weldon
- Reading for February 19: “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver
- Reading for February 12: “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Reading for February 5: “Brothers” by Sherwood Anderson
- Reading for January 29: “The Book of Martha” by Octavia E. Butler
- Reading for January 22: “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway
- Reading for January 15: “Nuns at Luncheon” by Aldous Huxley
- Reading for January 8: “Smouldering Crisis” by Margit Kaffka (story is pp. 158–170 of PDF)
- Reading for December 18: “Hot and Cold Blood” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Reading for December 4: “The Stone Boy” by Gina Berriault
- Reading for November 20: “A Woman of Fifty” by W. Somerset Maugham
- Reading for November 13: “And of Clay We Are Created” by Isabel Allende
- Reading for November 6: “A Village After Dark” by Kazuo Ishiguro
See previous weeks’ readings on our archives page.
By participating in any Classical Pursuits program, you are agreeing to abide by our code of conduct