A JOURNEY THROUGH ANCIENT EGYPT
Lecturer: Frances Boardman
10 WEEKS - 23 Sept-21 Oct & 4 Nov-2 Dec 2019
Ancient Egypt could not have been built nor flourished without the ordinary people who farmed, fished and built all those monuments. They, too, have left us records and tombs giving us a glimpse of what it was like to be a working man or woman 5,000 years ago. They had a state sponsored social services including GPs, specialist medical professionals and workman's compensation.
Make-up, party clothes, even words we still use today, have come to us from these ancient voices. Beauty preparations were very important – the biggest beauty book was 'Transforming an Old Man into a Youth'! Their kindness to one another, their misunderstandings with one another, are all recorded in their letters and poetry. People have changed very little over the centuries – the wet t-shirt competition was alive and well thousands of years before its re-invention in California!
Come and join the people who lived through the great events and the ups and downs of daily life on a Journey Through Ancient Egypt.
The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers
Lecturer: Dr Adrian Eckersley
5 weeks – 24 Sept-22 Oct 2019
Henry James's writing career peaked in the late Victorian/Edwardian era, when civilised behaviour made human beings into islands often unguessably remote from one another. In sentences that teem with suggestion but are often hard to pin down, James creates halls of mirrors in which a sudden new light can transform everything we have understood so far. The two short, concentrated texts we are studying bring us face to face with the enigmas of who and what we are.
The Turn of the Screw is peculiarly rich in ambiguity; it can be read both as a ghost story and as a dark tale of professional failure. The Aspern Papers raises issues about how much one human can or should know about the inner life of another, about the complexity of the bridges we build to reach others, and the silences we may prefer.
It is possible to buy these two novellas in one book, in the Penguin Classics series. Both are available separately in many other formats.
HISTORY OF FRANCE FROM THE GAULS TO DE GAULLE
Lecturer: Denis Sheppard
10 weeks – 24 Sept-22 Oct & 5 Nov-3 Dec 2019
The course is designed to provide an introduction to the history of France from the Gauls and the Roman Empire, through the period of absolute monarchy, the French Revolution, the Belle Epoch, to its role in the world today. It is suitable for anyone with an interest in the development of France as a nation state, how its history has impacted on its characteristics today, and its contribution to the history of Europe as a whole.
We will examine the relationship between the Gauls and the Roman Empire, between the French and British monarchy, the link between monarchy and the French Revolution, the impact of Napoleon and its emergence as a World and European power. We will use this information to assess the impact of history on the characteristics of France today.
The course will include case studies of General De Gaulle, the history of French cheese and wine, and French philosophy.
Lecturer: Margaret Mills
10 weeks – 25 Sept-23 Oct & 6 Nov-4 Dec 2019
The personalities we will study all had a great impact on 19th century life. Whether in the fields of literature and the arts, medical advancement, scientific enquiry, women’s suffrage or other claims to fame, they were ambitious, dedicated and driven. Each of the personalities, males and females, made their mark very firmly on the 19th century and most of them still attract media attention today. We look at the work and public persona of each individual, but also at their private lives and some aspects that only patient research over the years has now revealed. We ask: what was their contribution and their legacy?
THE PILGRIMAGE CONTINUES: MORE FROM CHAUCER'S TALES
Lecturer: Margaret Mitchell
5 weeks – 26 Sept-24 Oct 2019
We shall look at extracts from the Tales Chaucer assigned to some of his Pilgrims and at the kinds of stories that people enjoyed at the end of the fourteenth century: funny, romantic, sometimes bawdy.
It would help if you have a modern version of The Canterbury Tales, but this is not essential.
THE RENAISSANCE HOME
Lecturer: Lydia Goodson
5 weeks – 7 Nov-5 Dec 2019
In this five-week course we will step into the Italian Renaissance home to discover how houses were furnished, decorated and managed. This period saw a huge increase in the production of decorated objects designed for domestic use, and we will look at the paintings and objects made for the home in fifteenth and sixteenth century Italy, and at how and where they were displayed. We will discuss how historians represent the Renaissance home, and the different sources that they use to envisage how it might have looked. We will also look at practical matters of housework and household management. At a time when affluent households were growing in size and when dining culture was becoming more sophisticated, household management became more complex and women in particular acquired new skills to allow them to keep up with these new demands.
ESSEX FAMILY DYNASTIES
Lecturer: Denis Sheppard
10 weeks – 14 Jan-11 Feb & 25 Feb-24 Mar 2020
The course is designed to provide an overview of Essex Family Dynasties from the Norman, De Vere, through the Tudor, Petre, to the Victorian, Strutt, assessing their impact on Britain. It is suitable for anyone with an interest in understanding the relationship between the individuals, their families, the circumstances they found themselves in, and their subsequent impact on developments in Britain.
We will focus on what motivated the families studied, and the skills and abilities they used to impact on the nature and development of Britain.
T.S.ELIOT: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land
Lecturer: Dr Adrian Eckersley
5 weeks – 25 Feb-24 Mar 2020
T.S.Eliot's long modernist poem, The Waste Land, published in 1922, has been hailed as the single most important poem of the 20th century. Dense and packed with allusions, with strange cross-rhythms and rhymes that may seem to mock us, it is not an easy read. However, for all its surface strangeness, it has a unique power to haunt the reader and, when its themes become clear, we shall see that it deals with the crisis of the civilised world's loss of direction after the First World War.
We will first study Eliot's earlier masterpiece, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, exploring the suggestion of his language in a less complex example. We will read The Waste Land together, locating its voices and moods clearly in the contexts both of its time and ours. Both poems are available in any anthology of Eliot's poetry.
A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN ART MUSIC
Lecturer: Dr Maria Razumovskaya
10 weeks – 8 Jan-5 Feb & 26 Feb-25 Mar 2020
We look at the twists and turns behind definitive moments in European music history: the treacherous line between pleasure, scandal and prayer in the Renaissance; hidden symbols in Bach; musical rivalry between Vienna and London; Mozart’s challenges to social order, etiquette and gender stereotypes through opera; the genius of Beethoven as a musical autobiographer; the rapturous world of secret societies and masquerades of Schumann’s circle; convoluted myths of ‘wandering’ and nationalism; fresh perspectives on Russian dreams, hopes and tragedies of the Revolution; the bizarre experiments challenging the very definition of music; and finally, how a hundred years of technology has changed the way we listen.
Lecturer: Ian Porter
5 weeks – 16 Jan-13 Feb 2020
This course covers diverse aspects of London's history. The crime lecture asks what is it about a crime that makes it newsworthy and (in)famous? And what it is about London's East End that has produced such crimes. It's partly that such a diverse society produces interesting crimes and this links through to a consideration of the East End's role in immigration. Why has this area enjoyed the most cosmopolitan melting pot of races and religions in Britain? How history affects our own lives is always of interest so we consider Mr Selfridge, and his role in producing the High Street shopping experience we all go through today. And any walk through his West End is dominated by the architecture of the Georgians. We look at this age of property speculation which has left London with so many great squares and grand streets. And this includes the Bloomsbury area, which has attracted so many writers. Why did creative people flock to this area and what were their lives like there?
LOVE, ART AND MARRIAGE IN RENAISSANCE ITALY
Lecturer: Lydia Goodson
5 weeks – 27 Feb-26 Mar 2020
This five-week course will look at the lavish array of luxury objects and paintings made in Renaissance Italy to commemorate and to celebrate love, marriage and the family. Marriage was an important way for families to affirm their social status and marriage festivities in the Renaissance were spectacles to rival the celebrity weddings seen today in Hello! magazine. Extravagant gift-giving accompanied betrothal and marriage and many of these gifts survive today. Child-bearing was vital to the continuation of family lineage, but was a dangerous business, and both these aspects are visible in the decorated objects made to celebrate fertility and to accompany birth.