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!

Here is our Reading Schedule for the Spring 2019 semester with recommended editions: 

  • Feb 5 & 12, Aeschylus, Persians, trans. Lembke and Herington (Oxford UP)
  • Feb 19, Elias Lonnrot, The Kalevala, trans. Keith Bosley (Oxford World Classics)
  • Feb 26 & Mar 5, Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, trans. G. H. McWilliam (Penguin)
  • Mar 12 & 19, Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, ed. Mowat and Werstine (Folger Library)    
  • Mar 26, George Eliot, Silas Marner, ed. David Carroll (Penguin Classics)
  • Apr 2 & 9, John Steinbeck, East of Eden, intro. David Wyatt (Penguin Classics)
  • Apr 16, Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (Penguin Classics)
  • Apr 23, Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (Vintage)

Shakespeare's Kings and Frame story links

A few links to follow up on our recent discussions:

Shakespeare's English Kings - Peter Saccio's informative and engaging book is a helpful companion to the History Plays.

Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare - Asimov's multidimensional approach to the plays is helpful in providing accessible context.

Chimes at Midnight - Orson Welles as Falstaff (need more be said?). We'll discuss Falstaff in much more detail next session.

Frame story - We mentioned the Canterbury Tales and One Thousand and One Nights. This Wikipedia articles lists many more.

Decameron & Kalevala links & Salamis maps

I will be focusing continuing comments on the the stories from Day 1, Story 1; Day 4, Stories 1 & 4; and Day 10, Story 10.

In the meantime, here are links for Pasolini's take on the Decameron:

NY Times (1971)

Wikipedia article

Google search for clips online

And for Sibelius on the Kalevala: 

Google search results for passages online

Maps found by Jon (thanks!):

IMG_20190209_162840 IMG_20190209_163308



For more on Salamis, consider these items:

Even though this satellite image was generated for other purposes, it shows the key area where the battle occurred and really conveys how narrow the straits are. The area in the centered square is where much of the fighting took place.

DLR Earth Observation Center

You might also enjoy this website to follow up on the Battle of Salamis and related topics:


And for additional reading, see Barry Strauss' book:

The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece -- And Western Civilaztion

Selections for the Decameron

The Decameron
If you're strapped for time, concentrate on the asterisked selections!

  • *Prologue
  • First Day: stories 1, 2 & 3
  • Second Day: stories 5, 7 & 9
  • *Third Day: stories 1, 9 & 10
  • *Fourth Day: stories 1, 5 & 9
  • Fifth Day: stories 8, 9 & 10
  • Sixth Day: stories 4, 7, 9 & 10
  • Seventh Day: stories 2, 8 & 9
  • Eight Day: stories 3, 5 & 7
  • Ninth Day: stories 2, 3, 6 & 9
  • *Tenth Day 10: story 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 10
  • Epilogue