The After Dinner Scholar
In Conversation with Ancient Greek and Latin with Prof. Stephen Hill

In Conversation with Ancient Greek and Latin with Prof. Stephen Hill

September 7, 2021

In the past few weeks, this podcast has featured introductions to two of three new faculty at Wyoming Catholic College: Dr. Paul Giesting and Dr. Daniel Shields. Today's podcast introduces the third, Prof. Stephen Hill.

Prof. Hill joins Wyoming Catholic College to teach humanities and the Latin program which, of course, is taught as spoken Latin. Prof. Hill also has proficiency in speaking classical Greek.

Shakespeare’s Rome: Politics and Eros by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Shakespeare’s Rome: Politics and Eros by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

July 27, 2021

As Aeneus becomes increasingly comfortable building Carthage with Queen Dido, the god Mercury appears to him. “You, so now you lay foundation stones for the soaring walls of Carthage! Building her gorgeous city, doting on your wife. Blind to your own realm, oblivious to your fate!” Aeneus is supposed to be headed for Italy to build Rome. Carthago delenda est--Carthage must be destroyed.

The final presentation at The Wyoming School of Catholic Thought this past June focused on the story of Aeneas and Dido from Virgil’s Aeneid, the great founding myth of Rome. The parallel with Antony and Cleopatra is obvious and was probably intended.

But there’s a most important difference: where Antony stayed in Egypt forsaking Rome, Aeneas fled Carthage for the sake of Rome.

At the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, Dr. Tiffany Schubert offered this presentation about the two couples and the relationship of politics and eros.

Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” by Dr. Adam Cooper

Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” by Dr. Adam Cooper

July 20, 2021

The story of King David’s tryst with Bathsheba begins with these ominous words, “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel…. But David remained at Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1).

Just as David remained in Jerusalem “when kings go forth to battle,” the great Roman general, Mark Antony, remained in Egypt, captivated by Queen Cleopatra. “Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch/Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space,” he tells her.

The result as Shakespeare explains in the title of the play is “The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra.”

At the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought in June, Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Adam Cooper introduced Shakespeare’s play and its themes.

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and Ceasarism by Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and Ceasarism by Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

July 13, 2021

“Let me have men about me that are fat;
“Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights:
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

So said Julius Caesar to Mark Antony in Shakespeare's "Tragedy of Julius Caesar." Cassius was indeed dangerous as Caesar discovered on the Ides of March when a group of Senators led by Cassius stabed him to death.

They, for their part, believed their action represented the height of patriotism. Caesar would be king—an abomination in the Roman Republic. “Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!” they shouted as Caesar’s blood dripped from their knives and hands.

Were Cassius, Brutus, and the rest patriots or treasonous monsters? Dante put Cassius and Brutus in the frozen bottom of Hell endlessly chewed by Satan chews along with Judas Iscariot. What was Shakespeare’s judgment on these men and their plot? And how should we look at the conspirators and their attempt to defend the republic from what they perceived as tyranny?

At the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, the college’s adult learning week, in June, most of those conversations took place in seminar sessions, but Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos started the discussion with this introduction.

Shakespeare’s Rome: “Coriolanus” and the Republic by Dr. Virginia Arbery

Shakespeare’s Rome: “Coriolanus” and the Republic by Dr. Virginia Arbery

July 6, 2021

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!

The quote is from William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Coriolanus.” Coriolanus was a great war hero during the fifth century BC, the early years of the Roman Republic. After returning from a great victory, the Roman Senate would make him a consul—the highest office in the city. But the common people of Rome egged on by their leaders, the tribunes, believe him too proud and vote instead to banish him from the city. In anger Coriolanus cries, “I banish you,” leaves the city, and joins ranks with the enemy to revenge the insult by conquering Rome.

“Coriolanus” was the first of three plays we considered in June at the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought as we considered “’Shakespeare’s Rome.” Before we divided into seminar groups, Dr. Virginia Arbery delivered this introduction to the play, to the Roman Republic, and to questions concerning our own republic.

Shakespeare’s Rome: An Introduction by Dr. Glenn Arbery

Shakespeare’s Rome: An Introduction by Dr. Glenn Arbery

June 29, 2021

From June 6-11, a group of forty adult students gathered in Lander for The Wyoming School of Catholic Thought. Our topic was “Shakespeare’s Rome” which we then related to Shakespeare’s England—he lived during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign—and to our America.

While we can’t bring you the interaction we all enjoyed during seminars, which accounted for most of our time together, this and the following four podcasts feature the introductory remarks of our faculty to the plays “Coriolanus,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Antony and Cleopatra” and the story of Aeneus and Dido from Virgil’s Aeneid.

Dr. Glenn Arbery, our college president, delivered this lecture to introduce the week’s topic.

If you’d like to “brush up your Shakespeare” as Cole Porter famously put it, read Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Coriolanus” in anticipation of next week’s podcast by Dr. Virginia Arbery.

“As Kingfishers Catch Fire” with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

“As Kingfishers Catch Fire” with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

June 22, 2021

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring;

Gerard Manley Hopkin’s sonnet, “As Kingfishers Catch Fire,” has become one of the poems Wyoming Catholic College graduates memorized over the course of four years. And it’s the one our seniors, as a class, recited during their weekend of graduation festivities. The recitation was led by Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos who has a great personal love for this challenging poem.

George Herbert’s “Love (III)” with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

George Herbert’s “Love (III)” with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

June 15, 2021

“Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,” begins George Herbert’s poem “Love (III).” It’s one of the 26 poems students at Wyoming Catholic College memorize over their four years and one of the most beloved.

George Herbert, an Anglican clergyman, lived a mere 39 years, from 1593 to 1633. Yet the great Puritan pastor and theologian, Richard Baxter said of him, “Herbert speaks to God like one that really believeth in God, and whose business in the world is most with God. Heart-work and heaven-work make up his books.”

Dr. Tiffany Schubert  taught the poem this year and began this interview by telling us something about poet George Herbert.

An Invitation to “The Brothers Karamazov” with Prof. Adam Cooper

An Invitation to “The Brothers Karamazov” with Prof. Adam Cooper

April 20, 2021

In his 1880 novel The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky explores questions of good and evil, alienation and belonging, the existence of God and the nature of morality.

As scholar and author Kenneth Boa writes in his four-volume A Taste of the Classics, “The Brothers Karamazov is a remarkable work that explores the whole human range of behavior, from the depths of depravity to the heights of exultation and from the meanness of the human spirit to the great nobility of which it is capable.”

This semester, Wyoming Catholic College seniors have been reading “The Brothers K” under the capable tutelage of Prof. Adam Cooper. I asked Prof. Cooper what attracts him to the novel.

Can Science Fiction Be the Epic of Our Times? with Dr. Frederick Turner

Can Science Fiction Be the Epic of Our Times? with Dr. Frederick Turner

April 13, 2021

It makes no sense at first: a band of heroes,
Led by an old man with a bolo tie,
Who saved a world that was not worth saving.
There’s nothing for it then but to explain.
Perhaps for most of you it’s history,
But there’s a right way and a wrong way
To tell a story, and this on is epic.

Thus begins Fredrick Turner’s modern science fiction epic, Apocalypse. It’s the third sci-fi epic he has written and like Homer, Virgil, Milton, and Dante before him, he has written them in verse.

Dr. Turner is a poet, a cultural critic, a playwright, a philosopher of science, an interdisciplinary scholar, an aesthetician, an essayist and a translator, as well as the author of 28 books, including Natural Classicism: Essays on Literature and Science; Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion and Education; and Epic: Form, Content, and History

Dr. Turner, now retired Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Texas Dallas, delivered a lecture here at Wyoming Catholic College.  While he was in Lander, Dr. Turner was kind enough to join us for a podcast interview.

Dr. Turner's lecture can be found here.

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