Tag Archives: Literature

The Real World of Jane Austen

Eugene/Springfield—In “Beyond the Miniatures: The Real World of Jane Austen,” Central Oregon author Collins Hemingway will provide an overview of the major issues of the Regency Era, similar to many issues we face today: divisive wars, labor unrest, political polarization on trade and race, and technological revolution that dramatically undermined the middle class. He also will discuss how Jane Austen’s novels fit within the framework of this exciting and often violent period and how the big issues, such as slavery and war, affected her family and writing.

Hemingway is a technologist who has written books on business and science, including one with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and is a student of history and literature who lectures and writes about the life and times of Jane Austen.

His presentation is part of the 2016–17 OLLI-UO Speaker Exchange program partially funded by the Osher Capacity Building Grant.

Survey of American Literature

Central Oregon–Ann Sargent returns to explore with us the various movements of American literature as they correspond to history. A variety of stories and authors will be featured through readings and discussion. Ms. Sargent plans to present a study of the American Literary Movements, moving from Puritanism all the way through to Modernism, while highlighting how these movements correspond to events in American history. Participants learn to identify signature writing styles and features of each historical movement.

Sargent taught a three-part course about the short story last fall. She is a former college textbook editor and high school English teacher and has been teaching at the community college level for 13 years, currently as a writing instructor at COCC. Sargent’s love is American literature. She taught OLLI program classes at Bradley University in Illinois for three years (from 2005–2008) before moving to Bend.

Registration is required and the course is limited to 25 participants. Watch your e-mail for announcements. Registered members will receive short stories to read prior to the start of the course.

History of Atlantis Story from Plato: Literal or Symbolic Story?

Central Oregon–Join one of our favorite presenters, Bob Harrison, who takes us through the history, exploration, and archaeology of the fabled island of Atlantis.

Atlantis has been the subject of historical and literary debate since Plato first brought it up in Athens in the fifth century B.C. It reflected something he overheard from his uncle Solon, the great liberal Athenian lawgiver, discussed at a symposium some years earlier. Solon had visited Egypt (a real tourist destination for Greeks and Romans) and had met with Egyptian priests at Memphis (Egypt’s northern capital), who told him the story of Atlantis from hieroglyphic inscriptions dated 10,000 years earlier (10,500 B.C.). It depicted a highly advanced civilization that traded with Egypt and had been destroyed by an apocalyptic event.

Atlantis went down under the sea never to be seen again. Since it was past the Pillars of Hercules, historians presumed it must have been in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, or even Brazil. The search continues in those locations. The mystic Edgar Casey had a vision it would be found at Bimini in the Bahamas. The steps found underwater at that location, however, went nowhere, like the rest of the sites.

There had always been a mythical ethos to this whole story since no recognized civilization existed as far back as Solon indicated (10,000 B.C.). Finally, it was realized that the Egyptian hieroglyphic sign for the number 100 had been mistranslated by the Greeks as 1,000. That meant that 10,000 years was really 1,000 years and that 15,000 B.C. was really 1500 B.C. and that the Pillars of Hercules was not at Gibraltar but at the Straits between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The only possible civilization at that location and time that met Solon’s description was that of the Minoans who inhabited Crete and the surrounding islands in the Eastern Mediterranean (Aegean Sea). Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evan excavated this location in the 1940s and has paved the way for new insights into the mystery of Atlantis as something far beyond a morality tale.

Bob Harrison currently teaches history classes at COCC. He recently gave a fascinating two-part lecture on Alexander the Great.

Please note: the dates for these lectures may need to be adjusted to our speaker’s schedule. Updates and preregistration will be announced via email and classroom announcements.

Local Author Envelops Us in the Times of Jane Austen—Beyond the Miniatures: The Real World of Jane Austen

OLLI UO Beyond the Miniatures - The Real World of Jane AustenCentral Oregon–Jane Austen, who was born in 1775, lived through a time of great upheaval— England on the brink of the Industrial Revolution, France on the verge of a revolution—and soon, both countries would be at war with each other: a war that would continue for most of Austen’s life, until her death in 1817. Yet, for those like Jane, living in the upper-middle classes—the Regency Era in England—was a time of opulence and ease.

According to Wikipedia, the Regency Era began in 1811 when George Augustus Frederick (George IV), Prince of Wales, began his nine-year tenure as regent and became known as the “Prince Regent.” This sub-period of the Georgian era began the formal Regency.

The Regency is noted for its elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture. This era encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic change. War was waged with Napoleon and on other fronts, affecting commerce and politics both at home and internationally. Despite the bloodshed and warfare, the Regency was also a period of great refinement and cultural achievement, shaping and altering the societal structure of Britain as a whole.

In 1814, The Times adopted steam printing. With this method, it could now print 1,100 sheets every hour, not 200 as before—a fivefold increase in production capability and demand. This development brought about the rise of the wildly popular fashionable novels in which publishers spread the stories, rumors, and flaunting of the rich and aristocratic—not so secretly hinting at the specific identity of these individuals. The gap in the hierarchy of society was so great that those of the upper classes could be viewed by those below as wondrous and fantastical fiction, something entirely out of reach yet tangibly there.

Bend author Collins Hemingway has written a well-researched novel about the Jane Austen that might have been in The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume I. Volume I is the first in a trilogy of Jane Austen novels by Mr. Hemingway.

In a series of two talks, Hemingway discusses the Regency Era in England, covering a time in history that faced many of the same issues as today: divisive wars, labor unrest, political polarization on trade and race, and a technological revolution that dramatically undermined the middle class. How did Austen’s novels fit within the framework of this exciting and often violent period? How did the big issues affect her family and writing?

Join our presenter Collins Hemingway as we delve into the fascinating era of this world-renowned English author, Jane Austen.

Workshop: The Short Story

The Short Story

Central Oregon–In this busy world, “there is a time for multitasking and a time for losing yourself. The short story offers something else: a chance to pay close attention—and have that attention rewarded because, for once, every little plot twist, every sentence, counts. In my life, I’m happy to report, there is a time for that kind of attention too.” Lorin Hollister Stein, American critic and editor 

In four weekly sessions, beginning September 12, OLLI members explore the elements of the short story with Ann Sargent, currently a writing instructor at Central Oregon Community College, who taught American Literature courses for OLLI at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. We will read various short stories and discuss character, plot, setting, theme, and various other elements that make short stories “work.”

Here’s a look at the first session authors and stories:

Kate Chopin (1850–1904), was an American writer best known for her stories about the inner lives of sensitive, daring women. Chopin frequently takes a surprisingly modern stance as she examines sensitive social and moral issues, often criticizing the mores of her society in a manner that anticipates the feminist and civil rights movements of the latter half of the twentieth century. We’ll read “The Story of an Hour.”

Saki, pen name for Hector Hugh Munro (1870–1916), was a British writer whose witty, mischievous, and sometimes macabre stories satirize Edwardian society and culture. In “The Open Window”, Saki dramatizes the conflict between reality and imagination.

O. Henry, pen name for William Sydney Porter (1862–1910), was an American writer whose short stories are known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and surprise endings. “The Cop and the Anthemwas published over a hundred years ago. Could this story unintentionally contribute to negative stereotypes about homeless people, or people who repeatedly go to jail?

Preregistration is required; watch your e-mail for an announcement. Registered members will receive short stories to read prior to the start of the course.

Celebrating the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction: OLLI-UO Common Read

1Eugene/Springfield–A two-session discussion of Jane Smiley’s 1992 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Thousand Acres will start our year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize. This book is a 20th century version of the rich dark mix of jealousy, stubborn pride, and madness served up in Shakespeare’s King Lear. The kingdom to be divided in Smiley’s novel is 1,000 acres of prime Iowa farmland, and the struggle over their inheritance gradually exposes the dark side of an ordinary Midwestern family.

Shiela Pardee, OLLI-UO member and English instructor who retired from Southeast Missouri State University, will lead the discussion. Dina Wills, OLLI-UO member and a member of the Eugene Shakespeare Club, will supply notes on King Lear.

Three other books, one per quarter, will continue this series. On October 26 and November 4, Klaus Galda will lead the discussion on Carl Sagan’s 1977 book The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence. We will read John Adams by David McCullough winter term, followed by Louis Menand’s book The Metaphysical Club.

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Literature, Medicine, and Well Being in the Age of Global Capitalism

OLLI UO Lecture Literature, Medicine, and Well BeingOLLI UO Eugene/Springfield—As a literature professor, I’m often asked by students some version of “Why should we read novels, short stories, and poetry when the world has so many pressing problems that need our attention?”  In the area of global health, there may certainly be a greater need for clinics and medicine than for the latest novel by Alice Hoffman or Donna Tartt. However, literature that explores health inequities has much to teach us. Nigerian writer Helon Habiba’s novel Oil on Water uses a fictional story to show, in often stunning detail, the very real effects of global economic policies on the health and well being of individual, families, and communities living in regions exploited for their oil. Novels like this one offer readers the opportunity to consider societal values about health care, values we see played out through the lives of fictional characters. Habila and other writers give us the opportunity to ask what we mean by “health,” how global forces promote or destroy it, and who is responsible for fostering healthy communities.

UO Professor of English Literature, Mary Wood has written books and articles on mental health and illness in literature, the relationship between literature and the history of psychiatry, and autobiography as a literary form. She enjoys the process of bringing different disciplines (literature, history, psychology, medicine, global health) into conversation with one another and particularly likes teaching medical humanities, a field that brings pre-med students into contact with literary arts.

Click here for information on becoming an OLLI UO member.