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Authors, Books, & Writing Programs

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Alma Thomas’ colorful compositions, including Pansies in Washington.


Lecture/Seminar

The Grapes of Wrath

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Novelist John Steinbeck's great work of American fiction, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), depicts the treatment of migrant farm workers in California's Central Valley during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson leads a spirited discussion of The Grapes of Wrath and why its deeply felt themes resonate today.


Lecture/Seminar

Frederick Douglass: Autobiographer

Thursday, February 23, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

During the 19th century, the great civil rights leader Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was a celebrated orator, editor, and writer. Join Douglass scholar Robert S. Levine as he focuses on Douglass the autobiographer and considers the significant changes and additions he made to his later autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.


Lecture/Seminar

Feminist Fairy Tales: Who Needs a Prince?

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

You might have heard something like this: Fairy tales are so sexist. All these girls needing a prince to save them!" But the politics of gender in fairy tales are much more complicated. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore the roots of fairy-tale studies and illustrate how scholarly discussions of sex and gender have transformed the art of the fairy tale as we know it.


Lecture/Seminar

Magna Carta: A Blueprint for Democracy

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Learn the fascinating story of how a failed 13th-century peace treaty between King John of England and his barons became a foundational cornerstone of citizens’ rights in this country with law professor, Thomas J. McSweeney.


Lecture/Seminar

An Enemy of the People? Niccolò Machiavelli in Context

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Author Ross King reveals why Florentine statesman Niccolò Machiavelli’s writings are more sophisticated than even the most Machiavellian passages of The Prince would seem to suggest. King offers a portrait of a perceptive writer who is far from being an enemy of the human race, and whose lessons on leadership, liberty, virtue, and good government are worth re-examining today.


Lecture/Seminar

Wonder Tales from Japan

Monday, April 3, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Like their Western fairy tale counterparts, Japan’s fantastical stories—otogi-banashi—are part of the body of stories folklorists call “wonder tales.” Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore these traditional tales from Japan, the ghosts and spirits that haunt them, and how contemporary creators translate their supernatural enchantments into genres like anime (animation) and manga (comics).


Lecture/Seminar

Spring's Awakening: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Vincent van Gogh and poetry by Mary Oliver, writers of all levels explore the lessons that the season of spring offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.


Course

Shedding Light on Plato's Republic

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

For many people, tackling The Republic feels daunting. That’s why Georgetown professor Joseph Hartman is offering this illuminating four-session book discussion. Highlighted are some of the central themes, questions as relevant today as they were in 4th-century Athens.


Course

Art and Fiction

Friday, April 7, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

A picture is not only worth a thousand words: It can sometimes inspire a whole invented world. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the art and artists behind three works of historical fiction. Gain new perspectives on Renaissance portraiture; Dutch still lifes, genre painting, and a cabinet house; and the Frick Collection in New York City by delving into the novels, followed by Applegate’s examination of the factual background along with the fiction. This is a “novel” way to explore the arts.


Lecture/Seminar

Literature's Nobel Prize: Who won, who didn't, and why it matters

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce never won the Nobel Prize in Literature, but Bob Dylan did. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, delves into controversial decisions by the Nobel Prize committee and the history of the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Vanessa Bell’s A Conversation.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Cecilia Beaux’s Sita and Sarita.


Lecture/Seminar

Gods and Mortals: A Modern Look at Ancient Greeks Myths

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Gripping tales that abound with fantastic characters and astonishing twists and turns, Greek myths confront what it means to be mortal in a world of powerful forces beyond human control. In a journey from the origin of the cosmos to the aftermath of the Trojan War, classicist Sarah Iles Johnston takes an engaging and entertaining new look at some of the best-known tales—as well as others that are seldom told—and highlights the rich connections among the characters and stories, draws attention to the often-overlooked perspectives of female characters, and stays true both to the tales and to the world in which ancient people lived.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Canaletto’s Entrance to the Grand Canal from the Molo, Venice.


Lecture/Seminar

Taking a New Look at Historical Objects: Interdisciplinary Technology Studies Unveil Insights

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Using powerful sensors and computers—and even a repurposed particle accelerator—cultural heritage researcher Michael B. Toth and his colleagues in humanities and science mine everything from ancient manuscripts to fossils to lacquerware panels for new information about their content and creation. Past projects include the earliest known copy of work by Archimedes, Gutenberg and other early Bibles, and Muslim manuscripts.


Lecture/Seminar

To Have and Have Another: The Life and Times (and Cocktails) of Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

In addition to being one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway lived a big, bold, adventurous life filled with exploits all over the world. You could say that he traveled globally and drank locally. Author Philip Greene, a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, examines the life, prose, travels, and adventures of Hemingway through the lens of his favorite drinks, watering holes, and drinking buddies. Enjoy light snacks and four cocktail samples and raise a toast to Papa.


Lecture/Seminar

Virgil’s Aeneid: An Inside Look into Ancient Rome’s Greatest Epic Poem

Thursday, May 11, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Two millennia after it was composed, Virgil’s Aeneid remains one of the most influential and remarkable works in Western literature. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, delves into what makes Virgil’s great work tick.