From the August 20, 2008 edition of Bookselling This Week:
A funny thing happened when R.J. Julia in Madison, Connecticut, announced its new, ongoing Great Books Seminar Program -- a monthly seminar designed to provide people with the opportunity to study and discuss the great works of literature, philosophy, and history. Very quickly, post-college adults were showing up in droves to register to study the classics
Fittingly, it was a book that inspired Coady to launch the Great Books Seminar Program in March 2008. "A friend of ours, [Yale Professor] Tony Kronman wrote a book called Education's End, Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life [Yale University Press]," said Coady.
The book discusses how the most important question one can ask in life -- What is living for? -- has been removed from university classrooms and calls for its return in humanities studies.
...how incredibly life-affirming it is to see adults participate for the pure pleasure of learning. I think this is a great opportunity for all independents. Being in a bookstore [for a class] is very exciting -- there are a lot of people who want this opportunity.
Education's End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life By Anthony T. Kronman Published by Yale University Press, 2007 ISBN 0300122888, 9780300122886 308 pages
Anyone interested? I am a member of the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas whose founder, Mortimer Adler, was the leading proponent of a Great Books curriculum at the University of Chicago which pre-dated many of today's Great Books colleges such as St. John's College in Annapolis and Santa Fe.
A great books program for adults and the Great Books Foundation were also founded in Chicago and Adler actively promoted the idea of great books discussion groups for adults. The foundation of the Great Books Movement now serves as the basis for numerous home schooling programs and the Great Books Foundation provides teacher and book group leadership training in the shared inquiry method of discussion which is at the core of the program.
The Directed Studies Program at Yale University, discussed in Kronman's book, is another curriculum based upon similar principles, which seeks to promote the value of the Western Canon of Literature in helping students understand what it means to live a good life.
If anyone is interested in attending similar seminars I am sure Max Weisman from the Center would be pleased to help us get started.