George Eliot, Genre Painting, and Street Photography

I can't get the links at Victorian web to work, so I suggest you Google: "George Eliot and the Visual Arts" to find it on

The two street photographers we looked at were: Joel Meyerowitz and Bruce Gilden. For a particularly British point of view on the ordinary, consider Martin Parr. Also, at the suggestion of Frank Maresca, consider Rosalind Solomon.

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)


Elizabeth Bishop

Some poems by Elizabeth Bishop to read for our next class:

"The Fish"

"Visits to St. Elizabeths"

"At the Fishhouses"

"Questions of Travel"

"In the Waiting Room"

"The Moose"

"One Art"


"The Man-Moth"

"Love Lies Sleeping"

"The Riverman"

"The Monument"

"Questions of Travel"


"Pink Dog"



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)