Past Toronto Pursuits Seminars

Summer seminars for 2017 – July 16–21, 2017

  1. Benefit of the Doubt: Shakespeare, Miller, Stoppard, Mamet
  2. Cinema and the Art of Concealment
  3. Eye of the Beholder: The Alexandria Quartet
  4. From Kant to Coppola: Art, Life & the Nature of Knowledge
  5. Imaginary Gardens: The Nature Poetry of Hopkins, Moore & Frost
  6. Innocence, Experience & Wisdom: Edith Wharton
  7. Make Room for Women Artists
  8. Man in the Mirror: Self-Knowledge in Montaigne, Shakespeare & Rembrandt
  9. A Symphonic Symposium: Sources, Symptoms & Solutions

Summer seminars for 2014 – July 13–18, 2014

  1. An African Conversation – It is a Disgrace How Things Fall Apart in the Beloved Country’s Darkest Heart
  2. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  3. Japan: The Cult of Beauty
  4. The Prophet and the Poet: Reciting God
  5. Muslim Women Writers of the Middle East: Breaking Out of Our Cocoons
  6. Independent People by Halldór Laxness: Iceland’s Rediscovered Masterpiece
  7. Taste of an Indian Classic: A Telling of the Mahabharata
  8. Islamic Art & Architecture: A Mirror of the Cosmos
  9. Japanese Cinema: Films by Akira Kurosawa
  10. MUSIC – Impressionism in Music


Summer seminars for 2013 – July 14–19, 2013

  1. Galore by Michael Crummey
  2. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  3. The SWERVE – Lucretius and the Renaissance Turn to the Modern
  4. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  5. Ecstatic Lyricism: Reading the Ghazal
  6. How Darwin Made Monkeys of Us All On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man
  7. Arguments Amongst Friends: Entertaining David Hume
  8. It’s a Mystery to Me
  9. Thou Shalt Not: The Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieslowski
  10. Ear of the Beholder – Interpretation and criticism in music
  11. On Photography by Susan Sontag
  12. The Art of Memory: Reading Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust


Summer seminars for 2012 – July 15–20, 2012

      1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
      2. A History of God by Karen Armstrong
      3. Terrible Beauty: W. B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney
      4. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
      5. Keeping Company with Montaigne: Essays
      6. And When They Were Good, They Were Very Very Good
      7. A Holy Longing: Seeking the Divine in short fiction, drama and film
      8. Revenge and Justice in Ancient Greek Drama
      9. In Search of the Russian Soul: Dostoevsky’s Idiot
      10. Actors Need Not Apply – Several plays plus coaching
      11. MUSIC – The Concerto: Studies in Contrast
      12. ART – Ways of Seeing by John Berger


Summer seminars for 2011 – July 17–22 2011

Click here for the 2011 slide show

      2. MIDNIGHT IN SICILY – the Dark Depths of the Land of the Wine Red Sea
      3. STARTING FROM LA MANCHA – Forays with Don Quixote
      4. STRANGE BEDFELLOWS – Benjamin Britten’s Literary Inspirations
      5. FROM BOTH SIDES NOW – Casualties of the Vietnam War
      6. SEAMUS HEANEY – History and Its Inheritors
      7. MINDING TIME – Virginia Woolf
      10. ART READING PICTURES – What We Think About When We Think About Art
      11. MUSIC VIENNA – World Capital of Classical Music


Summer seminars for 2010 – July 11–16, 2010

Click here for the 2010 slide show

      3. STRANGE EPISODES AND AWAKENINGS: Melville, Kafka, and Conrad
      5. THE PLAYFUL PURITANS: Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens
      7. THE POWER OF METAPHOR: Encounters with the work of Joseph Campbell
      8. OPERA – RICHARD STRAUSS AND MODERNISM: Salome and Elektra as enduring expressions of an era
      9. MUSIC – GUSTAV MAHLER – Musical mastermind, mystical myth or misguided misfit?


Summer seminars for 2009 – July 12–17, 2009

Click here for the 2009 slide show

      1. The Play’s the Thing: Shakespeare, Hamlet and Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author
      2. An Encounter with Socrates: Plato and Greek Art
      3. Unsinning the Soul: Dante, Purgatorio
      4. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
      5. Climb Every Mountain: Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
      6. An Affirming Flame: The poetry of W. H. Auden
      7. Myth and Meaning: Reading Lao Tzu, Carl Jung and Rollo May
      8. Let There Be Light: Religion and science square off on how we got here…
      9. Memoirs and Morals: Writing in the first person
      10. MUSIC “Haydn” Seek – The search for Papa Haydn
      11. ART Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences
      12. FILM The Legacy of Citizen Kane

Summer seminars for 2008 – July 13–18, 2008

Click here for the 2008 slide show

      1. The Play’s the Thing: The Tempest & Long Day’s Journey into Night
      2. Old Wineskins (Bible)
      3. Late Beethoven
      4. The Search for Meaning in Later Life (C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, Rumi, Auden, Rilke)
      5. Really Old Masters (Michelangelo, Goya, Monet and more)
      6. The Education of Henry Adams
      7. Dostoyevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
      8. George Eliot: Daniel Deronda
      9. The Leopard and Lampedusa’s Art of Memory
      10. Blindness and Wisdom in Art and Literature (Sophocles, Rembrandt and Monet)
      11. Hemingway, First and Last
      12. A Country of Old Men (and Women) – Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and W.B. Yeats

Spring seminar for 2008

Reading James Joyce,

CP on Bloor 2008

Six Sundays in the Spring

Summer seminars for 2007 – July 15–20, 2007

Click here for the 2007 slide show

      1. The Play’s the Thing: Julius Caesar & Coriolanus
      2. The Book of Genesis
      3. J.S. Bach: St. Mathew Passion
      4. Goethe: Faust
      5. David Batchelor: Chromophobia
      6. Herman Melville: Moby Dick
      7. Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
      8. Naguib Mahfouz: Children of the Alley
      9. Jazz, Blues, and Gospel: Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison
      10. The Art and Science of Leonardo Da Vinci
      11. Keeping the Peace: Conversations with Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau
      12. Grace Under Pressure: Iranian Cinema

Summer seminars for 2005

      1. The Aeneid, by Virgil
      2. Myth, Mind, and Make-Believe: selected works by C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell
      3. Paradise Lost, by John Milton
      4. The Play’s the Thing – King Lear and Long Day’s Journey into Night
      5. Reading Dillard, Reading the World: The Phenomenon of Man, by Teilhard de Chardin and For the Time Being, by Annie Dillard
      6. Democracy in America, by Alexis DeTocqueville
      7. Madam Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
      8. Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray
      9. Tristan und Isolde, by Richard Wagner
      10. The Music of War
      11. The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing, by James Elkins
      12. La Dolce Vita, by Federico Fellini

Summer seminars for 2004

      1. Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
      2. Words with Power, by Northrup Frye
      3. The Iliad, by Homer and war poetry
      4. The Metamorphoses, by Ovid
      5. Job
      6. Russian short stories
      7. The Decalogue, by Krzysztof Kieslowski
      8. The Play’s the Thing: Sophocles’s Antigone, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.
      9. Gotterdammerung, by Richard Wagner
      10. Mass in B-Minor, by J.S. Bach
      11. A Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
      12. The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard

Summer Seminars for 2003

      1. Bioethics: What to do until the PhD comes
      2. Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
      3. Die Walkure, by Richard Wagner
      4. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
      5. Gustav Mahler – The Man, Music, Mystique and Myth
      6. Keeping Things Whole: Man in the Biosphere
      7. Looking at Art with your Heart
      8. The Play’s the Thing
      9. Leadership in the Hebrew Bible

Summer Seminars for 2002

      1. The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
      2. The Brothers Karamozov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
      3. Selected works of Flannery O’Connor
      4. A Modern Pas de Deux: a selection of music, art and literature
      5. Die Meistersinger, by Richard Wagner
      6. Dr. Faustus, by Thomas Mann
      7. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
      8. The Idea of Desire (selected readings)
      9. Myth and Belief

Summer Seminars for 2001

      1. The Odyssey, by Homer
      2. Four visions of the Rennaissance: Machiavelli’s The Prince , Giorgio Vasari’s “Life of Michelangelo” from Lives of the Artists, Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and Josquin Desprez’s Missa de Beata Virgine
      3. Shakespeare’s Othello and Verdi’s Otello
      4. Middlemarch, by George Elliott
      5. The Deptford Trilogy, by Robertson Davies
      6. Civilization and its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud
      7. The Soul Of the Text – A Selection of Jewish Writing Across Time and Place

Summer Seminars for 2000

      1. Don Giovanni, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
      2. Confessions, by Saint Augustine
      3. Purgatorio, by Dante Allegieri
      4. Death in Venice; novella by Thomas Mann, opera by Benjamin Britten, film by Luchino Visconti
      5. Don Quixote, by Cervantes
      6. Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Frederick Nietzsche

Summer Seminars for 1999

    1. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    2. Tristan und Isolde, by Richard Wagner
    3. Inferno, by Dante Allegieri
    4. The Republic, by Plato

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