Apple Picking with The Word and Way Society



This past weekend, the Word and Way Society took a group of eight students apple picking at Honeypot Hill Orchard. For many of the students, this was their first experience at an orchard.

Read More »

Notes from the October 2014 EnCore Book Club: Edgar Allan Poe

'Poe Returning to Boston'/ Image via Stefanie Rocknak

‘Poe Returning to Boston’/ Image via Stefanie Rocknak

Pumpkin beer, pumpkin “blondies,” pumpkin whiskey (that’s right), pumpkin ice cream, Halloween-themed Jo-Jos, OTTO pizza, wine and cider and hot tea and more; this was the fall spread that the EnCore book club attendees tucked into as they pulled out their copies of Edgar A. Poe’s short stories.

One could title this meeting “From Victorians to the Void.” The discussion ranged widely for three hours. We began by sharing our particular attitudes towards the ghostly and the gruesome. What were the scariest films we ever saw? Were we most disturbed by the brightly eerie moments from The Shining? The blood-spattering scenes from Saw? The banality of 80’s kitsch from American Psycho?

We discussed Poe’s incessant themes of young, beautiful women dying young, of catatonia leading to premature burials, of the “Imp of the Perverse” within us all which threatens to blow off our tightly screwed lids. But we aren’t Victorians; does this mean we are any less obsessed with death?

Somehow, we veered from talk of serial-killers and psychopaths to the inner demon latent within the average Joe, and to the existential dread we push aside every day. Neil Gaiman once said of Poe that he not only saw the skull beneath human flesh, but that he “could not forget the skin that once covered it.” Perhaps this accounts for Poe’s enduring fascination and creepiness; in the end, nothing is scarier than what is irrevocably human.

If you could not join us for this meeting, worry not; the November book club will take place on the 5th (Guy Fawkes Day!). The EnCore book club will discuss Nights at the Circus, by Angela Carter, a Gothic wit in her own right. Whether you get your hands on the book or not, join us at CAS 119, for victuals and verbosity, verisimilitude and villainous alliteration.


Postcards to the Core: From London, Fall 2014



Frances Gossen — stalwart Core office staffer, campus lit mag editor, and all-around positive personality — is currently immersed in her study abroad program in London. However, she’s gladfully finding time to travel, and took time out of her gallivanting to send us a briefkaart from Amsterdam. An excerpt:

Hello from Amsterdam (technically London, but life has been a bit hectic)! I don’t think I could describe how exciting and new everything is here even with ten postcards, so you must be assured that whatever I write encapsulates only half of what I feel. Monday, I was privileged enough to see a play, My Perfect Mind, a modernization of King Lear connecting the madness and rejection of Lear’s final days with an actor’s life after a stroke. It was a wonderfully energetic and heartrending play; hopefully my life here will consist of many more.

The news in London is all of the Scottish Referendum; the British have a strange way of viewing their colonies, if one could consider Scotland a colony. There’s a sense of pride there, it seems, that leads them to be sensitive. I have to say, I’m more interested in the elaborately beautiful, hundreds of years old edition of the King James Bible I saw today at Hampton Court. Along with every other part of Hampton Court, especially the gardens.

Best, Frances


Core loves postcards. If every you’re abroad, don’t worry about the address: “Core Curriculum, Boston University, Boston MA 02215″ will in most cases get to us.


Upcoming MFA Events

Wine, Poets, and Performers in Ancient Greece

Opens September 16th ~ Gallery 215 A-C

In mid-September, our reimagined Greek galleries open. Both the art and the literature of ancient Greece are the foundations of Western civilization. As these galleries demonstrate through innovative displays and interactives illuminating ancient works, Greek poetry and drama can be closely connected with the art so well represented by the MFA collection.

Homer and the Epics
Krupp Gallery, 215A

The MFA’s world-renowned portrait of the iconic poet Homer anchors this gallery devoted to works of art illustrating scenes from his creations, The Iliad and The Odyssey, as well as other Greek epics. Near the gallery entrance, a large multi-touch screen provides an interactive introduction to the narrative sweep of the Trojan War.

Dionysos and the Symposium

Dionysos, god of wine and revelry, oversees this gallery, introducing the production of wine and its significance in Greek culture and religion. All-male drinking parties (symposia) and their activities, including philosophical discourse, the performance of poetry and music, drinking games, and the presence of courtesans are the other focus of this gallery. Images of Dionysos and his retinue animate drinking and serving vessels.

Theater and Performance

This gallery features objects related to Greek theater, including masks, dance, and music. Plays were performed in the large stone theaters of Greece, South Italy, and Sicily. Many of the MFA’s notable collection of fifth- and fourth-century BC vases illustrate scenes from the tragedies and comedies written by Greek playwrights.


A Major Exhibition of Spanish Master Francisco Goya
Order and Disorder

Opens October 12th, 2014 through January 19, 2015 ~ Gund Gallery, LG31

On view only at the MFA, and built on the Museum’s world-renowned collection of works on paper by the artist, “Goya: Order and Disorder” features more than 160 of his most significant paintings, prints, and drawings, ranging from the 1770s through the end of his life. Important loans of paintings and drawings from the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Musée du Louvre, the Galleria degli Uffizi, The metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art (Washington), as well as numerous private collections, round out this once-in-a-generation look at one of the greatest, most imaginative artists of all time.

A fine time had by all


The Core is pleased to report that it was a distinct pleasure to host so many pleasant Core and Classics persons at this past Saturday’s Core/Classics reception, part of BU’s alumni weekend. We hope to see more of you this spring, when we hold our gala 25th anniversary! — with Michael J. Maguire, Ashley McIntosh, Prof. James Uden, Prof. Ann Vasaly, Prof. Stephanie Nelson, Sophie Klein, and Beth Jacquet.

Alumna Ahoy

Faculty, despite cruel rumors to the contrary, are not all corrupted by the Gradgrindian spirit. Indeed, they are warm people, who love nothing more than to see their former students thriving in the world beyond campus. To that end, they love visits.


In this photo, from September 2014, Professors Ann Vasaly, Stephen Esposito and Stephanie Nelson are seen visiting alumna XO LtCdr Emily Bassett (née Klauser) on the USS Arlington. Fantastic. #corealumlove #showusyourtriremes

Candid shot: Barfield on Hobbes


Above, a snippet from Prof. Thomas Barfield’s very animated lecture (babba-bing!) on Thomas Hobbes, in September 2014 for the students of CC 203: Foundations of the Social Sciences.

Postcards to the Core

postcardCA2 copypostcardCA copy

Howdy “ya’ll”!


and I’ll be back in Boston. I hope all of you are doing well and I can’t wait to see you all! Winona

postcardGR2 copypostcardGR copy

Geia sas, Core office!

Greetings from Greece!

We went here on Sunday! Watched Prof. Samons “frolick” gleefully. Thank you for the opportunity.

With love,

The BU Phillhellenes 2014

postcardPR2 copypostcardPR copy



Lovliest Core office,

Greetings from Praha! Maddy and I are spending a week here during our vacation from summer study abroad with Radhika. I’ve had an amazing time this summer, mostly because of the awesome people Core has put me in touch with. I’ve seen so much of the country that was the origin of so many Core texts now. Travel is an essential part of any well-rounded education – it makes the history come alive! One of my favorite things I’ve done so far is see Austen’s writing desk in the British Library. Another, more Prague-related, was the Kafka Museum along the Vltava River, and seeing a house where he lived! What a grand summer. I miss the office and hope to see you all soon, Corey xx

Esposito introducing Bible lecture with Elie Wiesel


This past Tuesday, September 9th, Prof. Michael Zank of the Department of Religion lectured to students in the first-year Humanities about the Hebrew Bible. His talk was introduced with some very moving comments by Prof. Stephen Esposito (Classics), the course coordinator. Prof. Esposito has agreed to let us republish his introduction here on the Core blog, for the benefit of alumni and other readers. Here they are.

In May 1944 a 13-year-old boy from a small town in Romania, along with his parents and 3 sisters, boarded a train to an unknown destination. Read More »

Community news: Javadov, Tabatabai, Gossen, Hamill

As you know, Core is more than a set of classes—it is also a community, whose members are the students, faculty, and alumni that have all shared experiences in and outside of those classrooms. One of the things that happens in a community is that people stay in touch. In keeping with this, we’re going to be posting updates of recent news sent in to us by students, alumni, and instructors: announcements of new jobs or marriages, interesting trips, recent accomplishments, and current projects. Read More »