Institute for Retired Professionals, New School University, New York

ASTRONOMY (0302)
10:00 Limited to 25
Coordinator: John Gillespie
Astronomy, from its prehistoric origins to our present understanding of the universe, is explored, together with strategies for its observation. The major systems considered are the planets, stars, comets, and galaxies. Elementary notions of gravity, light, stellar evolution, and cosmology are integrated into the study. We review the fascinating open questions, including extraterrestrial life, dark matter and dark energy, and the future of the universe. No previous experience in physics or mathematics is assumed. Internet access is required.
Text: Coursepack (selections from astronomy journals and textbooks); Scalzi, John, The Rough Guide to the Universe, (Penguin/Rough Guides, 2003, ISBN: 1-85828-939-4, $16.95).
John Gillespie, an astrophysicist, taught astronomy and physics at CUNY. His interests include the interface of science and literature as well as music.

TICKET TO THE OPERA (0303)
10:00 Limited to 25
Coordinators: Judy Newbold, Susan Rauch
Tempers raging, love affairs flourishing, rivalries thriving, all fortissimo. We examine opera's history, learn the voices, and explore the partnership of the composer, librettist, and singers as they create not only a musical experience but a dramatic, poetic, historical, psychological, and passionate one as well. We analyze works from different operatic traditions, with class discussion supplemented by student reports and audio-visual segments. When feasible, we focus on Met Opera broadcasts. Optional visits to a voice class, rehearsal, and backstage may be arranged outside of class time. No previous familiarity with opera is necessary.
Text: Gaetani, John Louis, An Invitation to the Opera (Anchor Books, 1989, ISBN: 0-3852-6339-2, $17.00).
Judy Newbold has been attending opera -performances for decades and finally has a full view of the stage. Susan Rauch has studied classical music since childhood; she begs not to be judged by her piano performance. They look forward to introducing their favorite art form to new enthusiasts.

WRITING LESSONS FROM THE MASTERS (0304)
10:00 Limited to 12 Coordinator: Robert Reilly
This study group is for you if you're interested in writing, whether you're new at it or revising your tenth novel or suffering the agonies of writer's block. Our prescription for all of these: Let the reader in you help the writer in you flourish. We analyze the techniques of admired writers, then attempt to apply them to our own uncertain attempts at fiction, poetry, journalism, memoir, etc. Scanning samples from exemplars like Alfred Kazin, W. H. Auden, Neil Simon, and Virginia Woolf, we writers and would-be writers focus on particular skills these authors are celebrated for (characterization, dialogue, dramatic action, humor, a distinctive "voice"). Short assignments give us a chance to put their craftsmanship to work improving ours.
Text: Coursepack. Email access required.
Robert Reilly is a novelist, journalist, and advertising copywriter. He has published a fictionalized biography of Oscar Wilde, The God of Mirrors, and is currently working on two novels.

AMERICAN HISTORY MIRRORED IN POPULAR SONG (0305)
12:20 Limited to 35
Coordinator: Herb Greenhut
At one time, the study of history consisted of wars and laws, presidents, and kings-and a never-ending succession of dates. That is the history most of us studied in school. But today, we know there are many roads to understanding history. In this study group, we use popular songs (lyrics mainly) to throw light on historical trends and eras. We examine songs in times of war from the Civil War to Vietnam and 9/11, songs of other periods of crisis, from labor strife and the civil rights struggle to immigration and 20th-century urban strife-as well as some special sessions on New Orleans music, the westward movement, and the hard-scrabble existence that created country music. The emphasis is always on illuminating history-not composers, musical styles, or clever lyrics.
Text: Handouts provided. Web access highly desirable.
As a boy, Herb Greenhut played clarinet and tenor sax in teen bands. Through his father's theatrical photo studio, he met entertainers of all sorts. He lectures on American popular music and integrates it into his New School courses.

FRENCH CINEMA BEFORE THE NEW WAVE (0306)
12:20 Limited to 24
Coordinators: John Becker, Howie Menikoff
The period from 1930 to 1960 constitutes the classical era in French cinema. Commercial interests were closely linked to experimental and avant-garde film making. The French realized the medium's dual possibilities as popular entertainment and high art. Through the highly personalized visions of such directors as Clair, Renoir, Cocteau, Vigo, Carne, and Bresson, French film brought innovation in both film theory and practice. Participants view each week's film prior to class, and individuals present reports on directors. Students should watch Rene Clair's Le Million (1931) for the first session.
John Becker became a film buff as a teenager in the 1950s, when he took the subway into Manhattan to see John Ford's The Informer and saw a co-feature he hadn't known about-something called Citizen Kane. Howie Menikoff has coordinated many film classes for the IRP. As a youth he often cut French class to go to the movies. Who knew?

GREAT POETS: DONALD HALL (0307)
12:20 Limited to 20
Coordinator: Judith Fried
Appointed poet laureate in 2006, Hall has published 15 books of poetry, of which our text is the latest. Born in New Haven in 1928, Hall attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at the age of 16-the same year he had his first work published. He taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan, where he met his wife Jane Kenyon. In words perhaps to be considered a motto for the study of poems, Hall writes: "When we put words together-adjective with noun, noun with verb, verb with object-we start to talk to each other." We read assigned poems carefully before each session, and in class we read and reread aloud before we "talk to each other."
Text: Hall, Donald, White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006 (Houghton Mifflin, 2006, ISBN: 10-0-618-53721-X, $30.00).
Judith Fried has been joyously involved in poetry since the mid-nineties and has coordinated the
Great Poets series.

AGE OF REASON (0308)
12:20 Limited to 15
Coordinator: Stanley Engelstein
After 1792, the leaders of the French Revolution enshrined the Goddess of Reason in Notre Dame, and Temples of Reason were established in many French cities. Religion had been toppled: Reason was now the new religion. The triumph of reason was celebrated in huge festivals. Reason was to be the guide to human conduct and for the understanding of the world. Reason was applied to nature, science, religion, God, history, politics, crime and punishment, gender and race, education, the economy, war and peace. We read excerpts from essays on these subjects by scientists, philosophers, and writers of the time. We conclude with a discussion of the romantic and postmodern critique of the dominance of reason.
Text: Kramnick, Isaac, ed., The Portable Enlightenment Reader (Penguin, 1995, ISBN: 0-14-02-4566-9, $18,00).
Stanley Engelstein's major interests are political and intellectual history. He has previously coordinated a course on Major Currents in American Thought.





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