Readings and Podcasts for EAWLC Western Classics Book Club 2021

Instructor: Professor Emma Gorst

Time and venue: The second Wednesday evening at EAWLC Zoom room

For details, latest schedule, and Zoom link, please visit: Reading for Culture with Emma: Monthly Reading Group @East and West Learning Connections 

Please come back to check this page often as we will update the reading materials and podcasts as it goes.


Readings for December 8, 2021:

Book 2 of the Iliad by Homer. This is an Ancient Greek epic poem that influenced a lot of modern European literature and culture.


Podcast for Emma’s lecture on The Confessions of Saint Augustine in November 2021: 

Readings for November 10, 2021:

The Confessions of Saint Augustine

– I would like to focus on books 4, 6 and 9. These books start on the following pages in the PDF:

Page 92, Page 134, Page 209

Podcast for Emma’s lecture on Consolation of Philosophy in October 2021:

Readings for October 13, 2021

Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.

The link for THE READING:

Podcast for Emma’s Paradiso  lecture in September 2021:

Readings for September 8, 2021

Dante’s Paradiso
Dante Alighieri was an Italian poet who died in 1321. He influenced Chaucer and Shakespeare.
Dante’s poem The Paradiso is divided into 33 Cantos (a canto = a chapter or song).
The Paradiso is one of three parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy. It can be read here –
Canto 1 of the Paradiso
When you click on the Canto number, from the first link, you will go straight to a page with the explanation of the Canto. However, you should click on “texts and translations” to read the actual text of the Canto.
Please take a look at texts of these cantos –
Cantos I-V (1 to 5)
Canto X (10)
Canto XVIII (18)
Canto XXXIII (33)

In the lecture I’m not going to discuss Christian imagery as such, although Dante’s express purpose is obviously to promote Christian values and beliefs. Instead I’m more interested in the poetry he uses to express these ideas. For example, what kind of natural imagery does he use, and what sort of images speak to us still. I want to know what you think of the imagery.
Is it poetic? We talked about poetry in July – and how poetry is good if it
imitates good things, according to Aristotle. Poetry is good if it evokes
human emotions that make us think about what it means to be human. Do you agree? Think about it and please pay attention to any images of the following things:

– birds (larks, eagles, wings, flying)
– other natural things (fish, water, ice, snow, and so on)
– fire (candles, sparks, burning)
– light (fire, sunlight, candles, reflections)
– music, symmetry, patterns, order

Podcast for Emma’s lecture in July 2021:

Readings for July 14, 2021:

  1. Aristotle’s Rhetoric, chapters 1-6

Index / overview of topics here –

  1. Aristotle’s Poetics Parts 1-10 (I – X)

Please attention to the words purgation (catharsis) and reversal (Peripeteia).  The “six parts” of tragedy are important too. Poetry is seen as a kind of imitation of life. Aristotle’s theory is only one of many theories of “what poetry is.” Although the Poetics might seem to be just about “poetry,” in fact the theory was later applied to many mediums – art, music, poetry, drama, fiction, and so on.

See also – a short overview of what is important in the Poetics


Podcast of Emma’s lecture in June 2021:

Readings for June 9, 2021:

Link for Antigone:

Link for Oedipus – Rex:

These plays are very short. Emma recommends reading the whole of each play. If you are short for time, you could read one play and a summary of the other:,the%20summit%20of%20Sophocles’%20achievements.


Podcast of Emma’s lecture in May 2021:

Reading for May 12 2021 is the Symposium.

Here are 2 links – Emma talked about the nature of love.


Podcast of Emma’s lecture in April 2021:

Readings for April 14, 2021:

The Bible – The Book of John

Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book 10


Podcasts of Emma’s lecture in March 2021

Readings for March 10, 2021:

Genesis Books 1-4 (Creation, Eden, and the serpent, Cain and Abel)

Genesis 1

Genesis 2

Genesis 3

Genesis 4

Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book 1, lines 1-200



In summary, here is a general list for the year 2021.

Month 1: Ovid’s Metamorphoses lines 1-200 and The Bible – Genesis

Month 2: Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book 10 (Orpheus) and The Bible – The Book of John

Month 3: Plato’s Symposium

Month 4: Oedipus Rex and Antigone

Month 5: Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Poetics, Lactantius, and Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

Month 6: Virgil’s Aeneid

Month 7: Dante’s Paradiso, Cantos 1-5; Inferno, Cantos 1-3

Month 8: Boccaccio’s Decameron, sections TBD

Month 9: Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, sections TBD

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