New York Public Library-2008-7.jpg
Quotable

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.
— Sir Walter Ralegh, The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd (21-24)

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.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+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.

Calendar
July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
Archives
Culture, Philosophy, Humor

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 [...]

Some Thoughts and Feelings on the Aftermath of the ElectionWhen I saw that anger, hate and bigotry were going to win two nights ago, I had to unplug for a whil [...]

The Philosophy of Marvel's DaredevilEveryone is familiar with the most obvious tropes of superhero comics: exciting action sequences, sk [...]

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump, and the Democratic Party went from White Supremacy to ObamaWhen accused of promoting racist beliefs of policies, Republicans usually argue that it was their pa [...]

Simon Blackburn - Plato's RepublicThe term Utopia wasn't invented until 1516, when Thomas More published his now classic renditio [...]

Introduction to Symbolic & Philosophical LogicAlthough almost every activity human beings engage in requires some degree of reasoning, we're [...]

Harry Frankfurt - Bullshit!Bullshit is everywhere. I know it. You know it. And yet, what exactly is bullshit? You might agree w [...]

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

His Holiness's scheduled public address on October 20 at the Bell Centre in Montreal has been c [...]

Gina Sharpe, Lila Kate Wheeler, and Larry Yang, core teachers of the Teacher Training program at Woo [...]

John Tarrant demystifies Zen koan practice. Yes, it’s paradoxical, poetic, and totally personal. And [...]

A cup of tea or coffee is a nice break. Drinking it mindfully is a real break. Joseph Emet teaches u [...]

Pema Chödrön teaches us Tonglen, “sending and taking,” an ancient Buddhist practice to awaken compas [...]

A heartfelt message to us all, from Jack Kornfield. The post Don’t Wait to Be Happy! appeared first [...]

Guo Gu, a longtime student of the late Master Sheng Yen, presents an experiential look at the Chan p [...]

Junsei Jana Drakka, Zen priest and dharma heir to Zenkei Blanche Hartman, is in hospice. The post Ju [...]

John Manderino stumbles through Zen meal practice — and decides that’s perfectly okay. The post How [...]

You’re never too young to practice loving-kindness. Gail Silver on how to teach metta to your kids. [...]

(Natural News) As the global warming narrative unravels under revelations of scientific fraud, data [...]

(Natural News) The infectious climate change narrative that is being drilled into the minds of the n [...]

(Natural News) The latest research indicates that millennials – those born between the early 1980s a [...]

(Natural News) In line with Amazon’s announcement of plans to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, [...]

(Natural News) If you’re worried about skin cancer but you don’t want to slather yourself in toxic s [...]

(Natural News) Turmeric is one of the easiest plants to grow. The medicinal root is extremely low-ma [...]

(Natural News) With the passage of time, it becomes increasingly apparent that Google is at best dod [...]

(Natural News) Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis is an embarrassing problem that may lead to stain [...]

(Natural News) England and Scotland are set to relax the restrictions that are currently placed on b [...]

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

The first two missions of the unmanned Dream Chaser mini-shuttle carrying critical cargo to the Inte [...]

A new study by an international team of scientists has found evidence of recent volcanic activity on [...]

A new study by a team from Brown University has revealed evidence of widespread water on the lunar s [...]

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Brad Rogers at The Evolving Planet blog. Click here to re [...]

SpaceX is dropping its original plans to propulsively ground land the advanced crewed version of the [...]

The Kepler space observatory has made some interesting finds since it began its mission back in Marc [...]

In a recently published paper, Dr. Duncan Forgan proposed that alien civilizations could create a [...]

Using data from the New Horizons spacecraft, the mission team has created some new maps of Pluto and [...]

Get ready for the August 21st total solar eclipse, with facts, maps and more! The post One. More. Mo [...]

It’s that time again! This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Pamela Hoffman at the Everyday Spac [...]

EinsteinPlus: Come for the fun. Stay for the physics.Monday Jul 17, 2017 How Perimeter Institute’s a [...]

Perimeter voted among top Canadian workplacesThursday Jun 22, 2017 The inaugural Employee Recommende [...]

PSI celebrates another adventure in research and discoveryFriday Jun 16, 2017 Eighth class of Perime [...]

A new generation of NoethersTuesday May 30, 2017 Four talented physicists have been recruited as the [...]

Inside the Perimeter Magazine: Spring/Summer 2017Thursday May 25, 2017 For more than 150 years, Cana [...]

Raymond Laflamme wins CAP-CRM PrizeMonday Apr 24, 2017 IQC Executive Director's work in quantum [...]

Myers Named Among World's Most Influential Scientists for Third Straight YearWednesday Feb 22, [...]

Perimeter achieves double-hat-trick at Buchalter Cosmology PrizeTuesday Jan 17, 2017 For the third t [...]

Inside the Perimeter Magazine: Fall-Winter 2016/17Tuesday Dec 13, 2016 Science is a participatory en [...]

Luke Santi Award Winner Inspired by the Science Behind the FictionTuesday Dec 13, 2016 Joscelyn van [...]

Large, distant comets more common than previously thoughtThere are about seven times more long-period comets measuring at least 1 kilometer across than previ [...]

Could spraying particles into marine clouds help cool the planet?A first test of humans' ability to modify clouds would help explain the behavior of clouds and [...]

New shark species glows in the dark, weighs about 2 pounds and has a huge noseJust as "Shark Week" is gearing up, researchers have discovered a new species of shark 17 [...]

Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study findsJust as athletes cross-train to improve physical skills, those wanting to enhance cognitive skills c [...]

How fear alone can cause animal extinctionFear alone may contribute to the extinction of animal populations according to a recent study. When [...]

Cosmologists produce new maps of dark matter dynamicsNew maps of dark matter dynamics in the Universe have been produced by a team of international cosmo [...]

Venus's turbulent atmosphereAstronomers shed light on the so far unexplored nightside circulation at the upper cloud level of Ve [...]

Humans imitate in unique ways: Comparing children and bonobosA new study compared children's capacity to imitate behavior with the same capacity of humans [...]

Thousands of genes exchanged within microbial communities living on cheeseUsing cheese as a novel way to study microscopic communities, researchers have found that bacteria l [...]

Using money to buy time linked to increased happinessNew research is challenging the age-old adage that money can't buy happiness. The study suggest [...]

A new study proposes a possible source for the mysterious Mars Trojan asteroids: the Red Planet itse [...]

Buzz Aldrin experienced totality twice in space — once on Gemini XII, then on Apollo 11. Next up: Id [...]

Join a citizen-science campaign on August 21st to record 90 minutes of the Sun's changing coron [...]

Think the total solar eclipse is "sold out"? Think again — and grab your camping gear. Pri [...]

Orion Telescopes & Binoculars now offers a 6" f/4 Newtonian Astrograph Reflector Telescope [...]

The post M8 – Swan Nebula appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post girl (the angel on earth ) appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) on 2017 July 23 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Mosaic of Cygnus appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post under the milkyway appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]