Welcome to Brilliant Minds

A companion site for courses by Peter Arcese on classics, contemporary literature, and the arts ... Here you will find items related to our readings and discussions ... Ideas, images, background information, suggested readings, bibliographies, and notes on related performances, all find a presence here ... Enjoy your reading and check back regularly for new posts!

Selections for Augustine's Confessions

These are the passages to concentrate on for our upcoming discussion. The references are to Book and paragraph numbers which should correspond to most editions.

1.1, 1.20

2.4 through 2.9

3.5 through 3.8


5.10 through 5.14

6.6 through 6.12

7.5 through 7.13

8.7 through 8.12

9.10 through 9.13

10.6; 10.26 through 30; 10.35 through 37; 10.40


13.2 through 13.4; 13.17 through 13.18; 13.35 through 13.36

First class and Sappho

Welcome back! You can now download our Syllabus with recommended editions and schedule for discussion: Syllabus

For our first session of Brilliant Minds, Spring 2018, we'll be discussing poems and fragments of Sappho. I've ordered Anne Carson's wonderful edition, which offers the Greek text on facing pages. You can visually discern some of the linguistic patterning and poetic devices even without knowing the language.

Back in 2000, I translated selected poems and fragments (three of which were published by William Packard in The New York Quarterly). I recently found my old word processing files and converted them to create an eBook version in both PDF and EPUB formats. A complimentary PDF version is available here: Download Sappho_fragments_180203

(Both versions are available on the Lulu store: EPUB, PDF)


Scheduled Readings for Spring 2018

If you're planning on doing some advance reading, here is our upcoming schedule for Brilliant Minds, Spring 2018. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Feb 6 - Sappho, Poems
Feb 13 & 20 - Augustine, Confessions
Feb 27 - Murasaki, The Tale of Genji
Mar 6 - Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Mar 13 - Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
Mar 20 - Huong, Spring Essence
Mar 27 & Apr 3 - Pushkin, Eugene Onegin
Apr 10 - Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Apr 17 - Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March
Apr 24 - Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness