Bodhi Tree Bookstore - LA-3.jpg

Reminiscence

Northwestern University – Harris Hall 107 Redux: Bound to Please by Michael Dirda

Harris Hall

Harris Hall

I sat many hours in Northwestern University’s Harris lecture hall 107 during my years as an undergraduate and graduate student from 1968 to 1982.

As an undergraduate I listened to Alfred Appel lecture on James Joyce, Nathaniel West, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, and the modernist significance of the great jazz artists of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker. How many college lectures have a soundtrack?

Appel’s lectures on Nabokov and the pop culture motifs that form much of the substance of Lolita informed and entertained us. Much of the content of Appel’s lectures on Nabokov and Lolita can be found, mutatis mutandis, in Appel’s still authoritative Annotated Lolita. Students listened in attentive silence to his lectures on Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” and how Nick Adams found healing and relief for his battle-scarred psyche through fly fishing. This silence was atypical: more often than not, many of Appel’s lectures were punctuated with frequent laughter.

Alfred Appel

Alfred Appel Jr.

Appel made a lot of people laugh. I’ll never forget sitting in a Romantic poetry class on the second floor of University Hall when, just as Professor Gerald Prince was reciting these lines from Keats Ode to a Nightingale, “Away! away! for I will fly to thee, / Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,” Appel walks by the door opening to the hallway, flapping his arms like a bird. The class roared with laughter; Professor Prince, his back to the door, just stared at the class, mouth slightly open, dumbfounded.

In the early 70’s I also remember two other lecturers who held forth in Harris 107: anthropology professor Stuart Struever and, guru to the hippies, Stephen Gaskin.

Stuart Struever

Stuart Struever

Hearing anthropology professor Stuart Struever explain how the Vietnam War was essentially “maladaptive” encouraged students to continue or begin their protests of the war. I was so impressed and moved by the perspectives that an anthropological approach to understanding opened up that I changed my major to anthropology. During the 1970’s Struever was host to 100’s of student assistants who helped in excavating the 10,000 year old Hopewell burial mounds in Greene County, Illinois, about 270 miles south of Chicago. Struever was a colorful character who wore denim jeans and khaki short sleeved shirts as often as a tie and jacket, who interjected into his lectures stories of the years he spent buying and selling artifacts for import and trade in Africa. Think Indiana Jones.

Monday Night ClassOne warm spring evening in 1970 I listened to Stephen Gaskin — eventual founder of The Farm coop that settled in Tennessee — give a talk from a seated zazen half lotus pose, a talk about Buddha, weed, psilocybin, LSD, Jesus, and enlightenment — not necessarily in that order. That lecture was eventually anthologized in Monday Night Class, still in print forty years later. I will also never forget wandering outside after Stephen’s talk to the parking lot along Lake Michigan and being invited into one of the caravan school buses that followed Stephen’s lecture tour from the left to right coast and back again. I hung out for an few hours with a several guys and girls who were sharing a converted school bus. To this day the smell of patchouli oil brings back with hallucinatory vividness that evening and that after-lecture party in a converted school bus.

As a graduate student teaching assistant some 10 years later in the early 80’s, I remember Martin Mueller’s lucid background lectures on Shakespeare, especially his talks about The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, and The Tempest. The last lectures I attended in Harris 107 were given by Henry Binder in a course comparing literary and cinematic treatments of the “American West” with evening screenings of Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, and The Wild Bunch.

These memories of hearing experts on various and sundry topics holding forth on their chosen fields of literature, philosophy, religion, politics, history — memories now thirty and more years old — wash over me in mostly, but not always, pleasurable waves of nostalgia. Nostalgia cloys, does not really satisfy, but that is part of its poignancy, part of its seductive charm — the fact that it does not satisfy is part of what makes it what it is.

Bound to Please - Michael Dirda

Recently I discovered Bound to Please, an anthology of a quarter century’s worth of book reviews by Washington Post Book World editor, Michael Dirda. Dirda has spent his professional life reveling in the writings, thoughts, and works of various authors, translators, biographers, artists, and historians who have each individually in turn dedicated their individual lives to exploring the works, thoughts, or times of their chosen subjects and fields of research.

Reading these reviews is like sitting once again as a bearded young man listening to an inspiring, knowledge-laden professor holding forth in Harris 107.

Postscript: By chance I happened to read recently that Harris Hall is being renovated. New generations scholars and, perhaps, a next-gen hippie-guru or two await their turns to lecture in Harris 107 to new generations of current and yet-to-be born Northwestern students preparing for their futures.

Share

Scott Hall, Seabury-Western, Lunt Hall, Alice Millar, Tech Library: Early in the Day

Lunt Hall - Northwestern University

Lunt Hall – Northwestern University

Certain memories continue to fascinate me. I find myself conjuring these memories often — images, places, and scenes from summer 1968 through fall 1977, involving Northwestern, Evanston, and Chicago Museums. Like many (most?), my real life began upon finishing high school and leaving home — for me that meant enrolling and moving into a Northwestern dorm just weeks after graduating from Ridgewood High School. Now, thirty years later, in this month of beginnings, March 2007, just days until the first day of spring, I am finally putting in writing and found images what until now I have done only privately.

I think of Emily Dickinson’s choosing a “certain slant of light” to communicate what must have been a most private, obscure feeling. She clearly hoped someone, somewhere, somehow, sometime similarly had contemplated a ray of light hitting a rug, floor , hosting a myriad of glistening, floating, drifting dust crystals. There is a certain light that colors my memories of Northwestern and Art Institute — memories of the years in which I first began to dream dreams. And the “certain slant of light” that illuminates these memories are no small part of the memories and feelings themselves.

The places with which I became familiar and intimate during those years, the places that came to carry these feelings were each glimpses into what were to me amazing places created by the already achieved and accomplished. My setting foot in them somehow made me feel connected to great possibilities: the Lunt Building classroom where I took differential calculus from Professor “Ma” Clark; the large reception lounge on the second floor of Scott Hall, filled with dark red, green, and black leather chairs and couches, and long, oak reading tables, incandescent reading lights, shaded lamps on the end tables, high, high ceilings, arched stained glass windows; the Tech Library study carrels reached via narrow, spiral metal stairs ; the reception lounges of the Alice Millar chapel — good for many hours of studying; the study carrels in the Seabury-Western seminary library; the Impressionist galleries at the Art Institute; the Bahai Temple in Wilmette; and the Shakespeare Garden.

Share
Calendar
January 2020
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Archives
Politics, Culture, Philosophy
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Not just 'headaches': 34 US troops diagnosed with brain injuriesTrump made a lot of untrue claims about the Iranian missile strike, but it's the "no Ameri [...]

'Take her out': Reported tape suggests Trump demanded ambassador's firingA voice that appears to Trump's is heard on the recording saying, "Get rid of her! Get her [...]

Friday's Campaign Round-Up, 1.24.20Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country. [...]

'Death Valley': Trump laments possible ratings for his trial defenseJust when it seemed Trump couldn't find anything new to complain about regarding his impeachmen [...]

Republican state AGs make a curious case against Trump's impeachmentThe Republican state attorneys general specifically argued that impeaching a president "for act [...]

Dems pounce in court after Trump lawyers contradict Trump's DOJAfter Trump's defense lawyers contradicted Trump's Justice Department lawyers in a politic [...]

Team Trump balked at cooperating with watchdog probe of Ukraine schemeIf Trump did nothing wrong in the Ukraine scandal, why did the White House balk at cooperating with [...]

Why Republicans are taking aim at a war hero to defend TrumpIt matters that figures like Marsha Blackburn are trying to smear a decorated American war hero. It [...]

Trump scrambles after accidentally sharing Social Security planThis week, Donald Trump abandoned his 2016 rhetoric and put entitlement cuts on the table. Yesterday [...]

House impeachment managers look ahead rebutting White House caseRep. Hakeem Jeffries, a House impeachment manager, talks with Rachel Maddow and former prosecutor wi [...]

The Zhou (1046–256 BC) created the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ idea that there can be only one legitimate ru [...]

Trump’s legal team during the impeachment trial would be a joke if it wasn’t real. It’s a bunch of w [...]

By Yuval Levin Read at New York Times Our institutions lost the capacity to mold character and have [...]

In white evangelical’s support for Trump there was something adolescent with their taste for proud p [...]

I was raised to be the sidekick of an Evangelical evangelist in the 1970s and 80s. My father, Franci [...]

At nearly a quarter million views, my latest video has struck a chord, and every so often I receive [...]

This article is nearly a year old, but perfect for this time, and may even be “prophetic.” Read at N [...]

“GOD IS ON OUR SIDE!” HE TELLS EVANGELICALS, RE: ASSASSINATION- THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE SHOUTING IN IRAN [...]

2020 is the year we either stop the abomination of Trump and his lickspittle cult or we do not. We w [...]

By Linnaea Honl-Stuenkel  Originally published December 11, 2019 Read at citizensforethics.org There [...]

After having been unjustly convicted of the bogus charges brought against him in that most infamous [...]

The Philosophy of Christopher NolanEver since I first watched Memento and its fascinating exploration of the philosophical question of [...]

Voltaire - CandideThe philosophical problem of evil—the question of how the existence of unnecessary suffering is poss [...]

Arrow - A Celebration of LoveLife is hard enough as it is. Existence, in many ways, is suffering. Obviously, some have it much wo [...]

If 'Despacito' Were Written by an Evo-Devo BiologistIf you are a geek, you are likely to get excited over things others might find boring, laughable, la [...]

James Baldwin Debates William F. BuckleyJames Baldwin, the great essayist, poet, civil rights activist, writer and orator, would have turned [...]

Genius of the Ancient World - SocratesFew figures have been more important and influential in the history of civilization than the ancient [...]

The PresocraticsAnyone who's ever contemplated Raphael's celebrated painting The School of Athens knows th [...]

President Obama's Farewell AddressAs his presidency sadly comes to an end, President Obama delivered last night what is sure to become [...]

John Berger - Ways of SeeingArt critic John Berger's recent death has left a huge void in the world of art appreciation. Wh [...]

Right Living, Thinking, Etc
  • Two Truths News
  • Natural Living-Healthy Planet

The March 2020 issue of Lion's Roar magazine features simple and powerful meditations to relax [...]

In the opening editorial of our March 2020 issue, editor-in-chief Melvin McLeod looks at the perfect [...]

Rest in your true nature without effort or distraction — Mingyur Rinpoche teaches the renowned pract [...]

Freda Bedi was an early champion of women’s rights, a Gandhian revolutionary, and a major force in b [...]

She gave birth to twins, but only one survived. Kate Inglis on how, when a body dies, love is the fi [...]

Regularly remind yourself of your intentions, advises Sylvia Boorstein. It’s the key to keeping your [...]

Buddhist author and translator Sherab Chödzin Kohn died during the night of January 22 at his home i [...]

Meditation wasn’t designed to heal psychological wounds, explains Debra Flics. She cautions not to s [...]

When Eric Steuer discovered his childhood bully was now a Buddhist teacher, he asked him the questio [...]

It may seem like an unattainable ideal, but you can start right now as a bodhisattva-in-training. Al [...]

(Natural News) Planned Parenthood is once again getting off scot-free for its crimes against humanit [...]

(Natural News) Children have been coming home from school afraid for their future, afraid for their [...]

(Natural News) In a few years, Sweden may become the world’s first cashless society. But is the Scan [...]

(Natural News) Scientists have created natural weedkillers using commonly grown plants. In their stu [...]

(Natural News) A new peer-reviewed scientific paper published in the journal Tropical Diseases, Trav [...]

(Natural News) In the months before the first shots were fired in the American Civil War, states sec [...]

(Natural News) The power of We the People was on full display in New Jersey the other day as health [...]

(Natural News) The American Heart Association lists heart disease as one of the leading causes of de [...]

(Natural News) A recent study has found that foods with similar nutritional profiles can still influ [...]

(Natural News) Researchers from the University of Freiburg have found evidence to suggest that the i [...]

Science News
  • The Universe Today
  • Perimeter Institute
  • Science Daily
  • Sky and Telescope

A new study has shown how gas giants (like Proxima c) can exist around Red Dwarf suns, the most comm [...]

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached its target, asteroid Bennu (101955 Bennu), on December 3rd, 201 [...]

Article updated at 3:40 pm CST, 1/24/20. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover experienced a technical glitch [...]

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been in orbit around Mars for almost 14 years. It carri [...]

Boeing has released a highlight reel made from footage that was taken from the inside of the Starlin [...]

Why is there so little nitrogen in Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P)? That’s a question scientis [...]

Which camp are you in: volcanoes? Or asteroids? When it comes to the extinction of the dinosaurs, sc [...]

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Allen Versfeld at his Urban Astronomer blog. Click here t [...]

Betelgeuse keeps getting dimmer and everyone is wondering what exactly that means. The star will go [...]

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Allen Versfeld (https://www.urban-astronomer.com/ /  [...]

Perimeter research recognized again by Buchalter Cosmology PrizeMonday Jan 06, 2020Perimeter Associa [...]

2019: Perimeter’s Scientific Year in ReviewThursday Dec 19, 2019Perimeter reflects on a year of bold [...]

Perimeter researcher wins prestigious AMS prizeFriday Nov 15, 2019Kevin Costello lauded for his effo [...]

Giacomo Torlai receives APS prize for outstanding thesisWednesday Nov 06, 2019A Perimeter PhD gradua [...]

Krembil Foundation elevates its commitment to Canadian-based breakthroughsTuesday Nov 05, 2019The Ca [...]

Perimeter postdoc wins prestigious €1-million research grantThursday Oct 17, 2019Sebastian Steinhaus [...]

Perimeter congratulates Canadian cosmologist James Peebles on Nobel Prize in PhysicsTuesday Oct 08, [...]

Perimeter researchers win Breakthrough and New Horizons PrizesThursday Sep 05, 2019Perimeter researc [...]

Inaugural program invites undergrads to experience life as researchersWednesday Sep 04, 2019This sum [...]

ISSYP demonstrates power of collaboration in physicsThursday Aug 15, 2019At Perimeter’s Internationa [...]

A new study uses machine learning to project migration patterns resulting from sea-level rise. Resea [...]

Scientists have found evidence to support long-standing anecdotes that stress causes hair graying. R [...]

Scientists have discovered Earth's oldest asteroid strike occurred at Yarrabubba, in outback We [...]

Scientists think that current models are incomplete and that we may be underestimating crop losses. [...]

Despite reports that global emissions of the potent greenhouse gas were almost eliminated in 2017, a [...]

New research calls for action to minimize the risk of the platypus vanishing due to habitat destruct [...]

Researchers tested approximately 4,518 drug compounds on 578 human cancer cell lines and found nearl [...]

Physicists have observed quantum entanglement among 'billions of billions' of flowing elec [...]

Scientists have synthetically engineered mosquitoes that halt the transmission of the dengue virus. [...]

Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, [...]

Betelgeuse remains dim. The red supergiant Betelgeuse in Orion's shoulder has always been sligh [...]

Some brilliant explosions at least 10 times more powerful than regular supernovae might come from a [...]

The ancient pole star known as Thuban turns out to be an eclipsing binary. If you're up for a c [...]

The evening sky this week presents a near perfect opportunity to explore winte'rs marquee const [...]

Proper color balance is the foundation of a good-quality color image. The post Finding Your (Color) [...]

The post Comet C/2017 T2 PanSTARRS on the last night of 2019 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post CORONA AUSTRALIS appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post NGC 7789, AN OPEN CLUSTER IN CASSIOPEIA appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Rim Nebulae Along the Supergiant Shell LMC-4 in the Hubble Color Palette appeared first on [...]

The post Hyades and Pleiades appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]