Online Learning

Online Seminars | Scroll over the tiles to learn more

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, unsettle and inspire.

Sign up for multiple seminars and save! Learn more about our Frequent Reader program.

Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov"
February 1, 2023
The Leopard
February 13 and 20, 2023
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
February 21, 2023
Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Part 2
February 28, 2023
Whistler: Painting Set Free
March 6, 2023
Rothko: The Essential Experience
April 3, 2023
Gravity\\'s Rainbow and Pynchon's Surrealist Protest
April 11, 2023


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.

Online Presentations | Thursdays at 2 p.m. Eastern | Free!

Join us Thursdays at 2 p.m. Eastern. For recordings of all our past webinars, click here.


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 our admin assistant Raashi 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.

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.

Photo credits: Eduardo Castaldo/HBO from the HBO series My Brilliant Friend based on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels; Mark Rothko No. 5/No. 22 – 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York