Postcards to the Core: from Meadville, August 2017


We were thrilled to receive a postcard from Core alumna Suzyn-Elayne Soler this month! It comes to us all the way from Meadville, Pennsylvania. She writes:


Dear Core,

Greeetings from Meadville, PA!

I recently began work in admissions and have been tapped to help with the new honors program. I hope to draw from Core and the wonderful co-curricular opportunities to help shape this program and promote it as something as special as Core!


* Core loves postcards. Whether you’re at home or abroad now, we’d love to get one from you. Our address is easy: Core Curriculum, Boston University, Boston MA 02215.

Weekly Round-Up, 8-26-17

Greetings, scholars! Nervous about the approaching semester? Never fear! Our Core authors will always stand beside you, forever creeping into your mind whenever you try to write papers and complete assignments for other classes. (On their behalf, we’re sorry.)

  • This week in books: More millennials in the United States visited libraries last year than any other generation, citing interests in the communal spaces as well as programming like concerts and book discussions. (And, to top it off, Boston Public Library system is highlighted in this article! Excitement!!!)
  • Did you know that Sigmund Freud escaped to Hampstead, England, on the eve the Second World War, taking up residence not far from the Hogarth Press–helmed by Virginia and Leonard Woolf–which had taken on the task of printing his works in England since 1924?
  • A team of astronomers, Professor Elizabeth Blanton of BU among them, hopes that their studies of galaxy clusters might lead to a better understanding of the properties of dark matter and dark energy. According to Rachel Paterno-Mahler, another member of the team, Galaxy clusters are really good test-beds for learning about the cosmological parameters of our universe, like how much dark energy there is and how much dark matter there is.
  • Yesterday, August 25, marked the anniversary ofFriedrich Nietzsche’s death in 1900.
  • University of Southern California confronts controversy for the spelling of Shakespear(e)’s name on the base of a recently-unveiled bronze statue of Hecuba. “Over the centuries his surname has been spelled 20 different ways. USC chose an older spelling because of the ancient feel of the statue, even though it is not the most common form.” (Nice save, USC.)

Sculptor Christopher Slatoff stands with USC First Lady Niki C. Nikias and USC President C. L. Max Nikias before a towering Hecuba. (via USC)

Sculptor Christopher Slatoff stands with USC First Lady Niki C. Nikias and USC President C. L. Max Nikias before a towering Hecuba. (via USC)

That’ll do it for this week! We hope to see you again very soon.

Weekly Round-Up, 8-19-17

Bon weekend, Corelings! We hope these last few weeks of summer break are treating you well. Now onto the links:

  • ICYMI: The Core minor is now live. This is BIG, folks.
  • A solar eclipse is scheduled for this Monday, August 21. If you are currently in Boston, the best time to witness the event (taking care not to burn your eyeballs) is between the hours of 1:30 PM and 4 PM.
  • Mark Twain once wrote a book asking Is Shakespeare Dead?, in which he basically insinuated that Shakespeare did not, in fact, write his own plays. Joe Falocco, author of Is Mark Twain Dead?, speculates that Twain was butthurt that he could not hang with/be Shakespeare. Sounds reasonable.

Is Shakespeare dead?  We may never know.

Is Shakespeare dead? We may never know. Shakespeare by John Taylor, 1610. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

  • Young Marx, sequel to The Young Pope a play regarding Karl Marx’s time in Soho, is coming soon to the recently opened Bridge Theatre in London. Meanwhile, in Manchester, fans of communism’s favorite drinking buddies Marx and Engels will be sorry to hear that the pub that housed–allegedly–discussions of “communist revolution” is now “closed until further notice.
  • Graphic novel Heretics! by Steven and Ben Nadler, published by Princeton University Press (and going for the princely sum of $44.99), illustrates “The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy,” a tale that includes familiar characters like Hobbes, Spinoza, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton.
  • Wilde About Whitman, the master’s thesis-turned-play by playwright/librettist/performance artist David Simpatico, details the meeting of Whitman fanatic Oscar Wilde and his idol in an event tinto the beginning of Wilde’s career and the end of Whitman’s. It will be read tonight by A Howl of Playwrights at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, New York.

That’ll do it! Remember to come back next week for more updates in the world of great books!

Weekly Round-Up, 8-12-17

O Corelings, how we pine for you in the air-conditioned, quiet, peanut butter pretzel-stocked Core office. You know, you’re welcome to visit us, alumni and incoming freshmen included. (CAS 119!) In the meantime, here are this week’s links.

  • Just for fun: Photographer Freddy Fabris reimagines famous Renaissance works in a new setting: the garage. Where else can you see mechanics recreating Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam or Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp?

Anatomy lesson. Photograph by Freddy Fabris. (via Sad and Useless)

Anatomy lesson. Photograph by Freddy Fabris. (via Sad and Useless)

That’s all for this week. Be safe, make good decisions, read lots of books, etc.

    Weekly Round-Up, 8-5-17

    Hello, scholars! Today we look at some sizzling hot takes, looted and fairly acquired art, and more. Read on:

    The original silent protest in 1917 in response to the East St. Louis riots. (via Library of Congress)

    The original silent protest in 1917 in response to the East St. Louis riots. (via Library of Congress)

    There you have it! We hope the upcoming week is filled many knowledges and ice cold beverages.

    Here Comes My Ride (It’s Aristotle)

    Phyllis and Aristotle, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530.

    Phyllis and Aristotle, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530.

    If you have perused sculpture, paintings, and other forms of art from the Northern Renaissance, you may have stumbled upon imagery of a woman riding sidesaddle on the back of none other than the philosopher Aristotle. Bedecked in fine garments (most of the time, anyway), she is Phyllis, said to be the mistress or wife of one Alexander the Great. Aristotle, looking rather silly and sometimes topping off his look with a bridle, the reins of which Phyllis grasps with a firm and unwavering hand, was Alexander’s teacher. So what brought them into such a strange predicament?

    A manuscript dating back to the 13th century provides some answers. Apparently, Phyllis overheard Aristotle’s advice to his pupil that he should “restrain himself from frequently approaching his wife,” and, furious, she devised a plan to seduce the great philosopher. She was successful, and when he “began to solicit her carnally,” she told him:

    This I will certainly not do, unless I see a sign of love, lest you be testing me. Therefore, come to my chamber crawling on hand and foot, in order to carry me like a horse. Then Ill know that you arent deluding me.

    When he had consented to that condition, she secretly told the matter to Alexander, who lying in wait apprehended him carrying the queen. When Alexander wished to kill Aristotle, in order to excuse himself, Aristotle says,

    If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man.

    Hearing that, the king spared him, and made progress in Aristotles teachings.

    Some quick thinking on Aristotle’s part, evidently.

    Read the full post, “The Slave of Passion,” over on Futility Closet.

    Postcards to the Core: from Athens, July 2017


    Exciting news: We have received word back from two of our students studying abroad in Athens! This postcard comes to us from recent Core alums Kassandra Round and Anto Rondon, whose stay in Greece has been particularly fruitful. See for yourself:



    Dear Core Curriculum,

    We wanted to send this postcard because we have been in Greece for almost a month now. Everywhere we look is a constant reminder of the classical era and everything we learned in class and in the office. This experience has made us realize how fortunate we are to be part of Core.

    With gratefulness,

    Kassandra & Anto


    * Corelovespostcards. Whether youre at home or abroad now, wed love to get one from you. Our address is easy: Core Curriculum, Boston University, Boston MA 02215.

    Weekly Round-Up, 7-29-17

    Oh hello, scholars. This week we take a look at some dead people heads, share some relationship advice, and offer an Instagram account to spice up your feed. Read on!

    • Over at Stanford University, celebrations of the 200-year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death continue as a professor and two doctoral students take a look at “one of the biggest literary figures in English,” focusing on her popularity, her place in the literary canon, and her style of prose.
    • The Laurence Hutton Collection, located at Firestone Library at Princeton University, contains the death masks of iconic figures like Walt Whitman and Isaac Newton as well as a cast of Goethe’s right (write) hand. This funerary practice was especially popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries, during which celebrity cults and physiognomy saw their rise in American and European culture.

    They saved Walt Whitman's brain (uh, head).

    They saved Whitman’s brain (uh, head). Cast by Samuel Murray with the help of Thomas Eakins. Via the Laurence Hutton Collection.

    • Foolproof way to force someone to love you: Co-star with them in a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So say the four starring actors of Shakespeare in the Park’s production of the Shakespearean play, which runs from July 11 to August 13 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park (for free!). As the actors discuss the chemistry that they “make” if it does not exist naturally, New York Times contributor Alexis Soloski notes “how strange and funny it is that actors’ bodies have to substitute for the bodies of their characters…”
    • Fun fact: Emily Dickinson, in addition to her love of poetry, had a passion for botany, visible in her herbarium in which 424 flowers had been carefully arranged by the poet’s hand. Today, the fragile book is held/guarded by Harvard University’s Houghton Library.
    • Similar to the Twitter account Tabloid Art History (@TabloidArtHist), which we covered in an earlier Weekly Round-Up, Instagram account @youngthugaspaintings compares hip hop artist Young Thug to such works in the art historical canon as Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Rembrandt van Rijn’s Nicolas Berghem, among others.

    The birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (1484-1486)

    A post shared by Young Thug as paintings (@youngthugaspaintings) on Jul 29, 2016 at 3:27pm PDT

    That’s all for this week! Don’t forget to check back next weekend for moooooreneeeews.

    Weekly Round-Up, 7-22-17

    Scholars? Is that you? Sorry, we can’t see so well in this blinding sun that has been so persistent this week. Not that we’re complaining (actually, we are; we are book-dwellers who screech when exposed to the light of the sun). Anyway, here are the weekly links.

    • Shakespeare on the Common takes place on the Boston Common through August 6. This year’s performance (which is free to attend!) is Romeo and Juliet, put on by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.
    • Did you know that John Milton’s Paradise Lost was once translated onto toilet paper by Yugoslav communist politician Milovan Djilas during his nine-year imprisonment? This act as well as a number of attempts to censor the work around the world point to the little-known political side toParadise Lost.
    • Michelangelo vs. Raphael: A Renaissance artistic rivalry for the ages. Seems Michelangelo was more than a little peeved at the youthful upstart. Raphael, meanwhile, responded in the only way artists know how.

    A moody Michelangelo, by Raphael in his work School of Athens. (via Artnet)

    A moody Michelangelo, by Raphael in his work The School of Athens. (via Artnet)

    Have you had your fill of weekly knowledge? Come back next weekend for another dose of Core-related insights.

    Weekly Round-Up, 7-16-17

    Hellooooo Corelings! This week we look at memes, some sweet maps of Hell, and the Core Journal, again, because every work in there is worth your time (the author is definitely not saying that because she is a frequent contributor).

    • Fun fact: Did you know the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Tao Te Ching, and works of Shakespeare like Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing have been translated into Klingon, a fictional language from Star Trek? Here is another addition to the list: a translation of William Blake’s poem “The Sick Rose” by Core scholar Ann Marie Dyer for the fifteenth issue of the Core Journal.
    • Memes! About Jane Austen novels! Who would have thought? Are they clever or cringeworthy? You be the judge.
    • Noah’s ark is real and it’s located in Williamstown, Kentucky. No word on the exactitude of the dimensions, which have been converted from cubits to feet, but it certainly is gigantic. And while the group behind the ark replica believes in Young Earth creationism, the author of this blog post will withhold her opinions so as to foster good faith with the owners of the ark. You know, for when the seas rise as a result of climate change.
    • Threats of assassination! Kidnapping! Imprisonment! Mayorship! Philippe Desan details these misadventures AND MORE in his recently published book on Michel de Montaigne’s life, entitled simply Montaigne: A Life. Unfortunately, this description is a lot more exciting than Desan’s work, complains Robert Minto in the Los Angeles Review of Books–it is, apparently, tedious and borderline unreadable.
    • Infernal cartography,the new craze that’s sweeping the nation–that is, if you’re living during the Renaissance. Think of it as extremely involved fan art of Dante’sInferno that included careful mathematical calculations that Galileo himself felt compelled to confirm.

    Antonio Manetti's c. 1529 map of Hell. Via Cornell University Library.

    Antonio Manetti’s c. 1529 map of Hell. Via Cornell University Library.

    That’s all for today. Until next week!