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 | Scroll over the tiles to learn more

Interested in multiple seminars? See our Frequent Reader program. Want to see past seminars? Click here.

Understanding Conservatism: The Search for Shared Beliefs
May 13
E.M. Forster: On the Cusp of Modernity
June 2
Novels of Elizabeth Bowen
June 5
Sagas of Icelanders
June 7
Women of Greek Drama
June 8
Women of Greek Drama
June 11
Hannah Arendt and the Human Condition
June 20
Absalom, Absalom!
June 28
On Nature: The Wonder Project, Part I
July 24
Tristram Shandy
July 27
Delhi by Khushwant Singh
July 30
More details soon
The Trials of Socrates
More details soon
Dante's Inferno
August 26
More details soon
Novels of Penelope Fitzgerald
May 19


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

Explore a range of topics with our free webinar presentations, from the gardens and painting of Monet to Gold Rush San Francisco to urban planning. Even if you can’t attend, register to receive the recording. For recordings of past presentations, see our Archive page.

Our seminars are on hiatus, but we are planning a series of free events the week of July 18. Watch this space for more details soon!

Friday Flash Fiction | Fridays at 5 p.m Eastern | Free!

Join Classical Pursuits director Melanie Blake or longtime San Francisco Great Books Council leader Louise DiMattio 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. All stories will be freely accessible online. 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.

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