Bodhi Tree Bookstore - LA-7.jpg

Universities

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
June 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
Archives
Politics, Culture, Philosophy
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

Leaked details show 'Tubman 20' closer than Trump admin admitsAli Velshi shares details of a New York Times report revealing the design of the Harriet Tubman 20 d [...]

Judge rules against Trump admin on migrant girls' abortion rightsBrigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, discusses the wider [...]

Random groupings add wildcard dynamic to first Democratic debateSteve Kornacki, MSNBC political correspondent, talks about how the randomly assigned groups for the [...]

Flynn sentencing postponement requested as new lawyer catches upAli Velshi reports on a request by the prosecution as well as Michael Flynn to postpone Flynn's [...]

Trump admin confrontation of Iran raises concerns of escalationAli Velshi looks at the escalation of tensions between the Trump administration and Iran through the [...]

Trump disregard for rule of law puts officials in awkward spotAli Velshi reviews past instances in which government officials have had to walk back Donald Trump [...]

Friday's Mini-Report, 6.14.19Today's edition of quick hits. [...]

Rachel Maddow 6/14/19Watch the full episode of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

Rachel Maddow 6/14/19Watch the full episode of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show. [...]

Trump puts his handpicked FBI director in an unenviable positionIf Trump is undermining the FBI's work, and he's publicly cutting off the FBI director at [...]

Megaphone Player What Next | Daily News and Analysis Elizabeth Warren Is Not Here to Charm You She’s [...]

By Philip Johnson Originally posted May 22, 2019 at PeterBeinart.net. Last month, Representative Ale [...]

If Bernie were progressive he’d drop out. He lost the election for Hillary and now impedes Elizabeth [...]

via The New York Times Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined ot [...]

The Massachusetts senator is proposing something radical: a country in which adults discuss serious [...]

To send an American white supremacist Neo-Nazi president to honor those who died fighting the very i [...]

After years of a hateful lunatic in the presidency, how do we make our way back into love, beauty an [...]

ICYMI – I was on AM Joy on MSNBC this morning with the great Johnathan Capehart discussing Franklin [...]

The last time I saw Mark Zuckerberg was in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge A [...]

“Biden and Sanders come across as romantics. Biden- stuck in the past, when real bipartisanship some [...]

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

In this week's Weekend Reader newsletter, LionsRoar.com's Lilly Greenblatt draws inspirati [...]

It’s an expression of oneness — with the Buddha, with the sangha, with the cosmos itself. Mark Unno [...]

A collection of teachings from, profiles on, and conversations with LGBTQ folks in Buddhism. The pos [...]

Mushim Patricia Ikeda says it's not enough to help others. You have to take care of yourself to [...]

Out of the primordial desire to exist, everything comes into being. This sacred force, says Anam Thu [...]

Ajahn Brahm performed the first Theravada nun ordination in Australia and the first in the Thai Fore [...]

The Lion's Roar team is looking for a people-loving extrovert to help sell our advertising prod [...]

“Never forget is now," is the slogan of Japanese Americans who see the injustice of WWII intern [...]

Sebene Selassie, Rose Taylor Goldfield, and Guo Gu respond to the question "It seems that Buddh [...]

Each Friday, we share three topical longreads in our Weekend Reader newsletter. This week, LionsRoar [...]

(Natural News) Part of my promise to reader is to not only share wisdom about nutritional healing an [...]

(Natural News) You’ve probably heard of bank robbers trying to use things like toy guns and other po [...]

(Natural News) Health authorities have been warning the public about a new African ebola outbreak th [...]

(Natural News) Are you a funny guy or gal who’d love the opportunity to travel to space? If so, then [...]

(Natural News) Heart attacks strike men and women alike, but women are more likely to die from one. [...]

(Natural News) Breitbart News senior tech reporter Allum Bokhari, who recently uncovered Facebook’s [...]

(Natural News) Stress, in small doses, can improve focus and help people become energetic and alert. [...]

(Natural News) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known simply as ADHD, is characterized by d [...]

(Natural News) With a bit of creativity, even people who live in small apartments can practice homes [...]

(Natural News) Chinese researchers debuted a new photocatalytic disinfectant for eliminating pathoge [...]

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

This year, the NASA's NIAC Program is looking at some really interesting ideas - such as a wate [...]

Jupiter’s moon Europa is an intriguing world. It’s the smoothest body in the Solar System, and the s [...]

When InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26th, 2018, it deployed a parachute to slow its descent through [...]

If NASA sends a Starshade into space, it will need to perform some very accurate formation flying wi [...]

If you want to know what a talent for scientific visualizations looks like, check out Eleanor Lutz. [...]

Ceres, at almost 1,000 km (620 miles) in diameter, is the largest body in the asteroid belt. Between [...]

Saturn’s moon Mimas is the smallest of the gas giant’s major moons. (Saturn has 62 moons, but some o [...]

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKi [...]

Apollo 11 was the first mission to land people on the lunar surface. But Apollo relied on a lot of p [...]

New research by a team of UK scientists has located the site of the massive impact that took place i [...]

Perimeter mourns the passing of a brilliant rising star in cosmologyFriday Jun 14, 2019Chiamaka Okol [...]

Lena Funcke earns Max Planck Society award Friday Jun 14, 2019Perimeter postdoctoral researcher Lena [...]

Perimeter initiatives lauded by CCAEThursday Jun 13, 2019The Canadian Council for the Advancement of [...]

Perimeter Teacher Network educators honoured for outstanding pedagogyWednesday Jun 12, 2019Karen Ken [...]

Jaume Gomis wins CAP-CRM PrizeFriday Jun 07, 2019Longtime Perimeter Faculty member is recognized for [...]

Anna Golubeva wins NSERC Brassard PrizeTuesday May 07, 2019Perimeter PhD student Anna Golubeva is ho [...]

New Simons Emmy Noether Fellows announcedFriday Mar 08, 2019Perimeter is set to welcome the next gro [...]

New Perimeter Institute Director among world’s most influential scientistsWednesday Feb 27, 2019Robe [...]

CONDENSED MATTER THEORIST CHONG WANG JOINS FACULTYFriday Feb 22, 2019For Perimeter’s newest faculty [...]

Perimeter researchers continue hot streak in Buchalter Cosmology Prize competitionWednesday Jan 09, [...]

Small cluster of neurons is off-on switch for mouse songsResearchers have isolated a cluster of neurons in a mouse's brain that are crucial to making th [...]

Gut microbes eat our medicationResearchers have discovered one of the first concrete examples of how the microbiome can interfere w [...]

Viruses found to use intricate 'treadmill' to move cargo across bacterial cellsUsing advanced technologies to explore the inner workings of bacteria, biologists have provided the [...]

Squid could thrive under climate changeWhen scientists subjected two-toned pygmy squid and bigfin reef squid to carbon dioxide levels proje [...]

Earth's heavy metals result of supernova explosion, research revealsNew research suggests most of Earth's heavy metals were spewed from a largely overlooked kind o [...]

Bitcoin causing carbon dioxide emissions comparable to Las Vegas or HamburgThe use of Bitcoin causes around 22 megatons in carbon dioxide emissions annually -- comparable to t [...]

Zebras' stripes could be used to control their temperature, study revealsNew research indicates that zebras' stripes are used to control body temperature after all -- a [...]

Two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and wellbeingSpending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and wel [...]

Origins of cannabis smokingA chemical residue study of incense burners from ancient burials at high elevations in western China [...]

Jupiter-like exoplanets found in sweet spot in most planetary systemsA survey of 300 stars in search of exoplanets finds that massive, Jupiter-like gas giants are found [...]

A small near-Earth object might be a historic piece of space hardware: the Apollo 10 lunar module, d [...]

The post M13, NGC 6205, The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules appeared first on Sky & Telescope [...]

The post M106 and NGC4712 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Jupiter and the Galilean Moons appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post ISS Over Texas appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post MOON 12.7% appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post A 22 degree solar halo appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Jupiter opposition 2019 appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post SH2-115 emission nebula in Cygnus appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Jupiter with GRS and Callisto appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]