ONLINE SEMINAR
August 4 | Albert Camus’ The Plague

The Irish writer Conor Cruise O’Brien called Albert Camus’ The Plague a “sermon of hope.” Indeed, Camus himself says that “there are more things to admire in men than to despise.” Still, when it comes to confronting plague, humans frequently have a very hard time getting out of their own way. Denial and despair lead so often to resignation, while some soldier on without purpose, divine or otherwise. This seminar will explore the moral, social and psychological dimensions of this 20th-century classic in four two-hour sessions. Some time will be devoted at the end of each seminar to contrast the actions of the people of Oran to how our world today is confronting COVID-19. Our “bane” began several months ago; how much enlightenment have we received?

When: Four weekly sessions on Tuesdays, starting August 4 at 8 p.m. Eastern

Duration: 2 hours per session

Cost: C$275 plus 13% HST (approx. US$195 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We will be using Zoom online meeting software; you will receive instructions on how to download Zoom free after registration. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable. Select your registration below; please use the Toronto Pursuits credit option only if you are a registered participant of Toronto Pursuits 2020 who wants to put your deposit or previous payment toward an online seminar.

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Description

LEADER

John Riley has spent over 30 years leading seminars as a faculty member at Benedictine University and Morton College, and as a learning consultant for the Great Books Foundation. Currently, John is a tutor for Chicago CRED, which assists young adult men in gaining employment skills, and is chair of the program committee for Chicago Youth Programs, which seeks to improve the career and college readiness of youth in underserved communities.

 

READINGS

The Plague, by Albert Camus, translated by Stuart Gilbert
(Vintage, 1991)
ISBN-13: 978-0679720218

Please try to obtain the Stuart Gilbert translation. In the US, try bookshop.org; in Canada, amazon.ca.

The Irish writer Conor Cruise O’Brien called Albert Camus’ The Plague a “sermon of hope.” Indeed, Camus himself says that “there are more things to admire in men than to despise.”  The final words of the novel display barely a trace of optimism: “The plague bacillus never dies or disappears . . . perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.” Yet, in spite of the ominous tone, Camus here suggests that plague has profound lessons to teach us. Can those lessons remain with humanity?

When it comes to confronting plague, humans frequently have a very hard time getting out of their own way. Denial and despair lead so often to resignation, while some soldier on without purpose, divine or otherwise. This seminar will explore the moral, social and psychological dimensions of Camus’ 20th-century classic novel in four two-hour sessions. Some time will be devoted at the end of each seminar to contrast the actions of the people of Oran to how our world today is confronting COVID-19. Our “bane” began several months ago; how much enlightenment have we received?

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

 

Additional information

Choose registration type

Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit