Western culture has produced a body of music unsurpassed in expressive force and beauty. Grounded in the science of Pythagoras, forged in early Christianity, and refined by Renaissance ideals, the music we label as “classical” emerged as a cultural force by the mid-seventeenth century. Visual art has a far longer history of cultural and spiritual significance, linking us directly to our Greek heritage.

Great art and music deserve to take their places alongside the great books. The desire to hear, make, and be uplifted by music is born within each of us, yet music receives scant attention in today’s systematic curricula. A child is born with a magnificent capacity to create and respond to visual art but learns all too soon that art is an elective, over which more “serious” studies take precedence.

It was not always so. Artists, composers, writers, scientists, and philosophers were always entwined. Accordingly, in examining the period primarily between 1600 and the end of World War II, we will consider parallel developments in visual art and music. The masterworks we select will reflect the influence of literature, philosophy, and aesthetics; general and specific history; and the new technologies of each era. No music or art background is needed for this course.


Few students will need to be convinced of the centrality of Shakespeare to English literature. At once poignantly true to life and perversely ironical, elevated, and farcical, Shakespeare gives the English language words and phrases for every season. In this course, students will read closely several of Shakespeare’s most influential plays from each of his three genres: history, comedy, and tragedy. Students will consider what structures Shakespeare’s plays, what drives his characters, what accounts for their deep insight into human affairs, and most importantly what makes his words so perfect.

We will readAs You Like ItA Midsummer Night’s DreamThe TempestHenry VJulius CaesarMacbethKing Lear, and Othello.


(Required Core Course) What does it mean for a man to be free? How does a man use his freedom well? These questions address the heart of the classical distinction between the liberal arts (Latin liber = free) and the servile or mechanical arts. A “liberal” education refers to the steps that lead away (e-ducere = to lead out) from the default, easy, servile starting point of our unrefined nature (erudition = being shaped and refined, i.e. not being rudus or “unformed”) to the full life befitting a free man. In this course, we will explore the tradition of liberal learning from Plato to Karl Marx, examining these questions from all sides. We will ask what it means to be truly educated, what education is for, and what kind of freedom is desirable for man. Hopefully, this will lay a foundation for your other courses at Memoria College as you establish a basic understanding of what all these classes are about.

We will read: Plato, ApologyCritoRepublic I–II; Sophocles, Oedipus the KingAntigone; Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics I, Politics I; Plutarch, Lives “Lycurgus and Numa Compared,” “Alexander,” “Caesar”; Job; Augustine Confessions I–VIII; Montaigne Essays (selections); Shakespeare, Hamlet; Locke, Second Essay on Government; Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 15–16; Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Federalist Papers (selections); Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Part.


[course description]

Instructor: Dr. Brian Lapsa
Term: July DD - August DD (five sessions).
Time: DAY, 00:00 - 00:00 PM ET.


While a novel is sometimes merely defined as a work of prose that is of considerable length (over 50,000 words according to E.M. Forster), there is a certain realism of characterization and unity of plot that distinguishes the modern novel from earlier works of fiction. This course will examine a variety of British novels from the 18th to 20th century both as great works in themselves but also as representative works of major types of novels, looking for what makes this genre particularly modern. Works to be read in their entirety include: Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Charles Dicken's Hard Times, E.M. Forster's A Room With a View, Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night, and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. 

Term: August 24 – December 14
Time: Saturdays, 2 – 4 pm ET
Credit Hours: Core | 3 credits