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Website & blog of Tuan Hoang, Pepperdine University

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Great Books

Parodies of The Brothers Karamazov

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My students on Anne Elliot in Persuasion

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Amanda Root as Anne Elliot in the 1995 film adaptation. Austen’s placement of Anne’s age at 27, and the fact that many students today are somewhat familiar with Austen’s earlier stuff before going to college, are two good reasons for the millennial generation to read and discuss this novel in college.  ~ pc yooniqimages

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Memories of Milton’s Paradise Lost

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Milton’s Satan and Eve are, in the words of Eva Brann, “the original moderns.” ~ pc pinterest

The Brothers Karamazov or The Magic Mountain?

Prompted by a faculty discussion over Great Books in the modern era, I drove home last night thinking about these two great novels together.  I loved reading them, and so the best answer, at least for me, is, “The Brothers Karamazov and The Magic Mountain.”  Still, it was a good exercise comparing them during my drive on the PCH and I-405.

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ACTC 2016 in Atlanta

For several reasons, I prefer small academic conferences over large ones.  Still, it is good to go to a major annual conference once in a while, which was the case this past weekend at the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC).  “Major,” however, may be inaccurate.   At about 300 attendants each year, the ACTC pales in comparison to the thousands who trek annually to the MLA (language & literature), AHA (history), AAR (religion), AAA (anthropology), ASA (American studies), AAS (Asian studies), AAAS (Asian American studies), ICMS (Medieval studies), AWP (writers and writing programs), and other alphabet-soup biggies in the humanities and social sciences.  The AWP, for instance, typically has 2000 presenters and 12,000 attendees.  (It is not a typo: twelve and three zeros.)  The ACTC is decidedly small potatoes in number and scale.  On the other hand, the relative smallness – let’s call it “medium-sized”- probably contributed nicely to my enjoyment of the event in Atlanta.

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Was Ho Chi Minh Machiavellian?

By a coincidence, I read Alex-Thai Vo‘s article in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies a couple of days before my Great Books classes met to discuss the first half of The Prince. The article is titled Nguyễn Thị Năm and the Land Reform in North Vietnam, 1953, and I browsed over it when it came out last spring, only to “save” it for later because it is quite long. Funny, but last week I was merely looking at several JVS articles for examples of formatting and mechanics, not anything specifically in the content.  But I got hooked quickly and read the article in entirety.  It was one of those happy distractions and, possibly, fruitful later too.

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Great Books & L’Arche: meal stories

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Core members, assistants, and students during Spring Break 2014 ~ pc L’Arche Seattle

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I speak with my hands!

I just had a really good semester in the classroom, the best at Pepperdine.  In the first two years, I had some good classes and even three or four great ones: “great” means you cannot ask for more.  But for each semester there was at least one class out of three or four (depending on the semester) that was average at best or, at least once in my first year, quite sub-par.  Well, not this fall.  If the third time is the charm in trying most things in life, then the third year might be my charm in full-time teaching.

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Great Books students at the Getty Villa

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Reading about food & drink #2

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Norman Rockwell, “Freedom From Want” (1943)

Here is part one.

“As nearly the same time as the discovery of alcohol,” writes Fernand Braudel in the first of his three-volume work on capitalism from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century,

Europe, at the centre of the innovations of the world, discovered three new drinks, stimulants, and tonics: coffee, tea, and chocolate.  All three came from abroad: coffee was Arab (originally Ethiopian); tea, Chinese; chocolate, Mexican.

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