Online Seminars, Lectures and Book Discussions

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

Interested in multiple seminars? See our Frequent Reader program. Want to see past seminars? Click here. See full terms and conditions for Classical Pursuits online seminars.

On Nature: The Wonder Project, Part I
July 24
Tristram Shandy
July 27
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
July 28
Shakespeare’s Footsteps: From Greek to Sonnet
August 9
The Poetry of W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot
August 12
Dante's Inferno
August 26
Anna Karenina
September 12
The Bhagavad Gita
September 13
Augustine and Aquinas
September 21
On Beauty: The Wonder Project, Part 2
September 25
Vergil's Aeneid
September 27
Independent People
October 14
October 26
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.

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