Course: Moby-Dick

Date / Time

  • August 20, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • September 17, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
  • October 15, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:45 pm

The course provides an opportunity to read, study, and discuss Herman Melville’s 1851 novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. The story tracks two parallel quests: Captain Ahab’s to kill and thereby take revenge on the white whale; and Ishmael’s to know and understand the white whale.

Course | Fanged Females: Woman Vampires in Contemporary Film

Date / Time

  • September 8, 2019
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • October 6, 2019
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • November 3, 2019
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • December 1, 2019
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • January 12, 2020
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • February 2, 2020
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In popular film, depictions of female vampires are fascinating in their variety; while some hew more closely to Bram Stoker’s rather one-dimensional Victorian prototype, others are more nuanced and psychologically complex, reflecting changing cultural attitudes about women, and also reflecting the changing ways in which women view themselves. This class will include a selection of films made after 1980 from a diverse group of filmmakers, all of which feature female vampires as the protagonists.

Course | Marriage, Murder, and the Madhouse: Victorian Sensation Fiction, or, 19th Century Bestsellers You May Have Missed

Date / Time

  • September 14, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • October 12, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • November 16, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • December 14, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • January 11, 2020 - January 12, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • February 8, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The bestselling novels of the Victorian era are not what you think they are. Beneath the appearance of public respectability, the Victorians devoured novels of mystery, bigomy, madness, the supernatural, seductions, arsonists, and addicts. These now-forgotten novels kept the Victorians reading far into the night, too terrified to blow out the bedside candle. This genre, known as Sensation Fiction, became the best-selling, blockbuster novels of the 19th Century and outsold Dickens, Trollope, and the Brontes.

Course | Chaucer Aloud: Sex, Love, and Marriage

Date / Time

  • September 19, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • October 17, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • November 14, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • December 5, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

In this class we will read Chaucer aloud, in Middle English, since that is more fun than silent reading, and is actually how Chaucer expected his tales to be enjoyed. Middle English is wonderfully phonetic, and expressive, so no worries if you have never read it before (or not since High School).

Course | From Page to Stage: The Philadelphia Theater Season

Date / Time

  • September 21, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • October 19, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • November 16, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • December 14, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • January 18, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

We’ll see five shows—all different types, all of major importance—and read the scripts. This will give us a chance to interpret the work and then interpret the production (not necessarily in that order). Each meeting will begin with a short lecture providing background and context, followed by a film clip, followed by conversation.

Course | Learning from James Baldwin

Date / Time

  • September 24, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • October 22, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • November 19, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • December 17, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • January 21, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

James Baldwin, one of the leading writers of the 20th century, portrayed passionate truths about poverty, racism, religion, homophobia, and the struggle for justice in America in his essays, his novels, his stories, his plays—as well as in his lectures and in the recording the life of his mind, heart and spirit.

Course | Dombey and Son: Charles Dickens and the Business of Family

Date / Time

  • October 1, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • November 5, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • December 3, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • January 7, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Over our four monthly class sessions, we will dive deep into one of Dickens’ less-read masterpieces. Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation, serialized between October 1846 and April 1848, deals with the fate of the business and family (inextricably intertwined) of one Paul Dombey. The novel provides new insight into the connections between many of Dickens’ well-known social concerns—class conflict, cruelty to children, unhappy marriages, and the pressures of Victorian capitalism.

Course: Ulysses by James Joyce (Thursdays)

Date / Time

  • October 3, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • November 7, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • December 5, 2019
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • January 2, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • February 6, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • March 5, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • April 2, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • May 7, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • June 4, 2020
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Heralded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, Ulysses is also considered one of the most daunting. The Rosenbach offers a welcoming discussion-based environment and unparalleled access to primary resource materials from our James Joyce collection to deepen readers’ understanding of the text and the author himself. First-time Ulysses readers and returning fans alike are welcome in either group.

Course: Ulysses by James Joyce (Sundays)

Date / Time

  • October 13, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • November 17, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • December 8, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • January 12, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • February 9, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • March 8, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • April 19, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • May 17, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • June 7, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

There are infinite routes through James Joyce’s dense, funny, thrilling, frustrating masterpiece Ulysses. If you’ve always wanted to read it, this is a great way in: with good company and monthly conversation. If you’ve read it before, join us to discover something new again in the novel.

Course | Herman Melville: Beyond Moby-Dick

Date / Time

  • November 17, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • December 15, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • January 26, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • February 23, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This course won’t be anything close to a comprehensive survey of Melville’s writings. Yet by setting aside his behemoth, Moby-Dick, we will acquire depth into key texts that help us gain perspective on his career and, even more importantly, insight into his arguments about politics, power, self-deception, and modernity.