Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Great Books

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.

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March 15, 2024

Thanks to Bill Maniotis, current HMU student, for today’s blog.

I began my first course (HUM 701: The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course) at Harrison Middleton University in April of 2019, and I am about to finish up my coursework at HMU with my second comprehensive exam on the Great Idea of Love in April of 2024, before I move on to working on my Capstone project this summer.

 » Read more about: Community Weekend, A Student’s Perspective  »

February 9, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

It’s with bittersweet feelings that I write the concluding post on Bleak House. What a fun book! If you haven’t followed along with our pace, I do recommend reading, listening, or watching. There are many excellent versions. It’s filled with Dickensian wit, insight, and detail. I say Dickensian because only Dickens could write something so global in perspective while also fleshing out characters,

 » Read more about: Concluding Charity in Bleak House  »

November 24, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Each fall, Great Books San Francisco hosts a Poetry Weekend. And if there’s one thing that I’m grateful for in this world, it’s poetry. I love to attend this event because of its hybrid nature. The first day is filled with reading and discussion. Groups of fifteen or so are separated into Zoom spaces where we read,

 » Read more about: Poetic Gratitude  »

Ahab Rages and Odysseus Weeps: Trauma as a Core Concept for Humanistic Inquiry

June 24, 2022

Thanks to David C. Yamada, a 2022 Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

The Great Books of the Western World series includes the two-volume Syntopicon, An Index to the Great Ideas, which contains 102 core ideas and accompanying entries that help to frame the major works to follow.

 » Read more about: Discussing Trauma  »

May 13, 2022

Thanks to 2022 Fellow in Ideas, David Yamada, for today’s post.

Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz

As the humanities and social sciences face core threats fueled by higher education budget cuts and political divisions, they are conventionally defended on vocational and practical grounds. The liberal arts, so the argument goes, provide a strong grounding for successful careers by teaching students how to read,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: Lost in Thought  »

October 29, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

When Gulliver travels to Brobdingnag, he describes many things with disgust. Therefore, it seems fitting, for a Halloween treat, to revisit some of Swift’s grotesque elements from the world of Brobdingnag. If you find this overly terrifying, keep in mind that Gulliver survives Brobdingnag and also that Swift revels in the hilarity of his tale (as do his readers).

 » Read more about: Swift’s Version of Grotesque  »

May 29, 2020

Thanks to Peter Ponzio, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

The introductory course at Harrison Middleton University is called “The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course.” It includes short readings on a wide range of subjects and serves as an introduction to our methods. One of these readings, The Expanding Universe, by Sir Arthur Eddington, is the subject of today’s blog.

In this selection, Eddington made three observations,

 » Read more about: Comments on The Expanding Universe by Eddington  »

May 24, 2019

Thanks to James Keller, HMU student, for today’s post.

Borrowing from Bradbury, Great Books Chicago 2019 was titled: Something Wicked This Way Comes. Taken as a statement rather than a title, it is a somewhat comforting thought—at least initially. If the wicked thing is coming, it is something outside and not of ourselves. It is something foreign to humanity, perhaps a distortion of humanity, but not endemic to humanity.

 » Read more about: The Misfit’s Wickedness  »

May 17, 2019

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Great Books Chicago is a weekend of book discussions held in Chicago. We meet at the Great Books Foundation and break off into separate rooms for discussions. We also attend events as a larger group. This year’s theme was Something Wicked This Way Comes which opened the door for a discussion of crime. We began with Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Misfit,” which is an exceptionally well-crafted story.

 » Read more about: Great Books Chicago 2019  »

February 1, 2019

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

I have a number of questions still rumbling around after Harrison Middleton University’s January Quarterly Discussion. We read Archimedes’ Sand Reckoner and G. H. Hardy’s Mathematician’s Apology. I put these two pieces together because I am interested in mathematical discourse separated by thousands of years. More than time, however, they also came from different parts of the world,

 » Read more about: Math According to Archimedes and Hardy  »

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