Saint Anselm College Great Books

Blog for the Liberal Studies in the Great Books Program at Saint Anselm College

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Edgar Allen Poe: Book Discussion

October 29th, 2009 · 15 Comments

Edgar Allen Poe: Book Discussion Poe image

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

Thursday November 5 at 4PM in Bradley House.

Food and refreshments provided.

Informal Discussion of the works of Edgar Allen Poe including
The Gold-Bug
The Masque of the Red Death
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Tell-Tale Heart
Annabel Lee
The Raven
The Fall of the House of Usher
A Descent into the Maelstrom

Facebook event

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Brave New World

September 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Brave New World: Book Discussion

Brave New World

Freedom or Happiness?

Host: Great Books Society

Date: Friday, September 25, 2009

Time: 2:45pm – 4:15pm

Location: Bradley House

Facebook Event link

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Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings

April 17th, 2009 · 193 Comments


Friday, April 24, 2009


2:45pm – 5:00pm


Bradley House 3rd Floor



Harry Potter vs Lord of the Rings

We all have our loyalties to our childhood Fantasy series, but are you willing to go to bat for those loyalties?

Who is a batter hero- Frodo or Harry?

A better villain, Voldemort (Oops! I mean He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named) or Sauron?

Why are these stories important for us? Why do we have fantasy?

Come duke it out!

Theme related Food!! Butterbeer and lembas

Please don’t dress up. Spare us the agony. Thank you.


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James Joyce Discussion: Friday March 20

February 24th, 2009 · No Comments

Eat some food with this dude.

The Great Books Society is holding a discussion on the works of


James Joyce


March 20th 3pm Bradley House


works include:


Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

The short story collection, Dubliners
You can get electronic versions of these by clicking on these links.


rsvp with Sara Kallock at

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Nabakov discussion: Friday Feb. 6

January 24th, 2009 · No Comments


The Anselmian Great Books Discussion invites you to a discussion
Fri. February 6th at 3:00 pm
on the works of

Vladimir Nobokov



the novels

Pale Fire,


An Invitation to a Beheading

…. as well as numerous short stories


inspiration of Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.

Known a prose style that reflects the convoluted and insular minds is his unusual characters, Vladimir Nobokov is one of the 20th century’s most controversial writers.

Please join our discussion on this fascinating literary figure who left Europe for America and only died in the last 30 years.

From novels, to novellas, to short stories, Nobokov has a varying collection of works to read!

In Bradley House on

Fri. February 6th at 3:00 pm

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John Banville: The Sea

September 4th, 2008 · No Comments


The Great Books Society is holding a Discussion on



John Banville’s Winning novel,

The Sea

“This is a novel in which all Banville’s remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, disturbing, beautiful, intelligent, and in the end, surprisingly, offering consolation.”

The discussion will be at 

4:30 pm on

Saturday October 18th

Free, good food,

please RSVP with me if interested in attending.

Email: Sara at to RSVP

The Sea is where Max Morden, a middle-aged art historian, retreats after his wife dies of cancer. Max goes to the Irish seaside village of Ballyless where he once spent a holiday as a boy. While there, he alternately remembers his life with his wife and that summer holiday where he became infatuated with the wealthy and sophisticated Grace family, first with the mother, and then with the daughter. These relationships with these three women were the uneasy mess of life that helped define who he has come to be. Even now in retrospect, Max must remember even the most difficult truths if he is to find solace in them……


Review can be found at:

Go to for more info. Contact Sara or Professor Banach if you need a copy of the book.

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Literary Portraits

September 4th, 2008 · No Comments

This is funny:

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Books for Next Discussion

August 24th, 2008 · No Comments

Here are a list of books that are candidates for the next discussion:

You can vote here :

Selected Stories by Kurt Vonnegut

  • Short, easy to read
  • Humorous in a disturbing way.


Ishmael, Daniel Quinn

  • Story of a talking gorilla
  • May have been read by many in high school
  • Turns story of Adam and Eve upside down: the apples don’t do anything, Adam and Eve only thought they did.
  • Environmental Book


Regeneration, Pat Barker

  • Chronicles the WWI poetic minds of Britain, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilferd Owens.
  • Quick read.
  • Discusses the effects of war on the self.


Atonement, Ian McEwan

  • Movie.
  • Romance
  • Attempts to reconcile reality with fiction, the emotional, subjective mind with an objective reality.


Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters, JD Salinger

  • About 50 pages.
  • One of his best short stories


All Men are Mortal, Simone de Beauvoir

  • The main character, a egocentric actress, attempts make herself immortal through a man who is.
  • About 350 pages.


Tomcat In Love, Tim O’Brien

  • First person narrative from a very unreliable narrator.
  • Brings up some interesting gender issues
  • Issues of bad-faith


The Constant Gardner, John Le Carre

  • Movie
  • Discusses ethical issues such as self sacrifice and the dignity of all human beings, including the “expendable” populations of third world countries.
  • The movie is excellent. The book is a bit long…

The Sea, John Banville

  • The story is told by Max Morden, a self-aware, retired art historian attempting to reconcile himself to the deaths of those whom he loved as a child and as an adult.
  • 200 pages


Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Stephen Adley Guirgis

  • 79 pages
  • Imagines lawyers battling Judas’ right to go to Heaven in Purgatory


Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello

  • The play spends much time vividly demonstrating the limitations of the theatre as a medium of story-telling. Thus the play can be regarded as simply an exercise in the now much-explored realm of meta-theatre; however, it also delves into the larger questions of defining existence and hints at the responsibilities inherent in creativity.
  • A bit gruesome in the end…


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard

  • Movie.


The Crucible, Arthur Miller

  • American classic
  • Being performed by Abbey Players this fall


Beloved, Toni Morrison

  • My sister recommended this. It’s supposed to “blow you away:.
  • There is a film.
  • Depicts the tumultuous and disheartening life of a slave fighting for her and her children’s liberty from slavery and the ghosts of their past.


Selected Stories by Nikolai Gogol

  • Those Russians can write…


Selected Short Stories by Joseph Conrad (“Youth” and “The Lagoon”)

  • The Lagoon – The main theme of the story is that death is inescapable, humans often have the illusion that through ‘true love’ nothing can touch us, and that love makes one whole. In order to succeed in life, one must overcome these illusions.
  • Youth – A Narrative is a story within a story about the exuberance of youth and the romantic illusions that the young have about life.
  • He has other great stories. It’s amazing that he only finished learning English in his late youth.



You can vote here :

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Next Book: I am Legend

February 16th, 2008 · No Comments

The next book is I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Friday 3/28 3 PM Bradley

Here is some information on the book:

Here is the movie website:

Date of discussio to be determined

contact for a copy of the book.

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The Kite Runner

January 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

Your are Invited to Join The Anselmian Great Books Society

On Sunday January 27th at 5 pm in Bradley House Lounge

for dinner and a discussion of the book

The Kite Runner


By Khaled Hosseini

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons-their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Any familiarity with the text or it’s issues is welcome.

And please bring a dish if you wish!

Also soon to be a major motion picture:

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