Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Human Spirit Unvanquished: The Holocaust in Literature, Art, and Film

October 15, 2013

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.” – (Anne Frank)      

The Holocaust had a major impact on world literature, film, and the arts. It has been the subject of poetry, books,  documentaries and such films as “The Pawnbroker”, “Schindler’s List”, “Shoah”, “Europa Europa”, ‘The Pianist”, ‘Sophie’s Choice”, and more. While known for its most horrific elements, this cataclysmic event has also served to show the indomitability of the human spirit under great duress. Here, Melissa Weininger discusses her upcoming class, “The Holocaust In Literature, Art, & Film.”

WIH Reporter: What is important for us to know about your class?

Weininger: The class will cover a wide range of material, from non-fiction and fictional accounts of the Holocaust to contemporary film.  We will explore the various ways the Holocaust experience has been represented and discuss some of the literary and artistic techniques used to represent it.

WIH Reporter: What things would surprise us to know about the Holocaust Art and Literature? 

Weininger: A great deal of Holocaust art, literature, and film reflects upon the way that artistic expression itself is essential to retain one’s humanity in conditions of extreme inhumanity and dehumanization.  Indeed, art is often seen as a saving grace, as the thing that keeps the survivor alive in unimaginable circumstances.

WIH Reporter: What is the biggest misconception we have about this subject?

Weininger: Some people probably think that Holocaust art and literature is depressing, or only expresses extremity and deprivation, but in fact much of it is quite beautiful, rich, and instructive.

WIH Reporter: What media will you use in your class?

Weininger: I will be using PowerPoint presentations, and we will be reading literature, looking at works of art, and viewing films.

For more information about this class which begins on 10-21-13, from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, click here.


How Much Do You Know About…Nobel Literature Prize Winners?

October 15, 2013


1. Who declined the Nobel Prize for Literature?

A. William Faulkner.
B. Nadine Gordimer.
C. Jean Paul Sartre.
D. Doris Lessing.

 2. Who was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature?

A. Rudyard Kipling.
B. Gunter Grass.
C. Nelly Sachs.

3. Who received the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature? 

A. Ernest Hemingway.
B. Boris Pasternak.

C. Winston Churchill.

D. Albert Camus.

4. In 1929, Thomas Mann won the prize for this specific work:

A. The Magic Mountain.
B. Buddenbrooks.
C. Death in Venice.

5. The first Canadian to win a Nobel Prize for Literature was:

A. Saul Bellow.
B. Alice Munro.
C. Robertson Davies.


1. Jean-Paul Sartre, the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, declined the prize because he had consistently declined all official honors. Boris Pasternak, the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature, accepted first, and then later declined the prize because he was forced to by the authorities of his country (Soviet Union).

2. The youngest recipient was Rudyard Kipling, known for The Jungle Book. Hewas 42 years old when he was awarded the Literature Prize in 1907. The oldest recipient was Doris Lessing, who was 88 when she received the prize in 2007.

3. Many believe that Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but he was actually awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature. In his lifetime, Churchill got 20 nominations for the Literature Prize and two for the Nobel Peace Prize.

4. Thomas Mann won the prize “principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”.

 5. Although Saul Bellow was born in Canada, he was always identified as American. Alice Munro was the first Canadian writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

New Perspectives: A World of Short Fiction

October 15, 2013

Abby Goode’s short-story course in the summer, “American Short Fiction”, began with Melville’s “Bartleby” and Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” and concluded with Anita Loos’s comedic novella “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

In her next class, she aims to shake things up by offering fresh perspectives and texts that challenge and reshape our ideas about a solid, canonical tradition of American short fiction.

In the wake of Alice Munro winning the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, there is no better time to experience the fresh perspective offered by Abby Goode’s latest short-story course. We visited with her to find out more about the class.

WIH Reporter: What is important for us to know about your class?

Goode: The class provides a fascinating introduction for anyone interested in the features and varieties of short fiction in the American literary tradition, from short stories to novellas. And for the avid short fiction reader, it provides unique texts, non-traditional approaches, and fresh perspectives to the American literary world we think we know. 

WIH Reporter: Will the work of male writers be featured also?

Goode: I will also briefly share some unique texts and adaptations of short fiction by grand-daddies of American literature such as Melville and Twain, but only to suggest that we can reconceive their work in powerful ways.

WIH Reporter: Did your summer class have any impact on this class?

Goode: Definitely. This four-week summer course enabled me to make critical decisions about how to plan lectures, discussions, and reading load for the more extended, in-depth upcoming course. We had many intriguing conversations that covered everything from Fitzgerald’s science fiction to gender roles in Faulkner’s tragic south.

WIH Reporter: What else can we look forward to in your course?

Goode: Not only will we encounter some of the most bizarre works of American short fiction, we will explore lesser-known stories, adaptations, genres, and themes that keep short fiction a dynamic and interesting field of study; digital technology, race relations, suspense, science fiction, representations of social class and mobility, gender, region and place, sustainability, family dynamics, and more.

WIH Reporter: How will the class be structured?

Goode: Each class time will take one of two formats: as either the exploration of a full-length novella–allowing us to explore its themes and language in-depth and tease out the major questions of the work–or a divided discussion of two shorter works that will provide some breadth of our knowledge of various authors, styles, and literary movements. Classes will be a combination of lecture and discussion, with a heavy emphasis on discussion that enables us to explore the major themes in the work, narrative strategies, language, and character development. We will perhaps hear challenging and conflicting interpretations of stories that shed new light on the literature and relate them to history and our own contemporary moment.

WIH Reporter: What informed your choices of authors you covered?

Goode: When I put together the description for the course months ago, I had not entirely finalized the reading list. Since then, I’ve asked the group from my summer American short fiction course and others at the Women’s Institute for ideas, and noted an interest in women’s fiction and fiction from the U.S. south.The majority of the class will be devoted to authors that I have not yet covered in a literature course at the Women’s Institute–Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Nella Larsen, Carsen McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Munro (who has been called the best living writer of short stories in English)–so the course promises to be a unique experience.

For more information on Abby Goode’s class, “New Perspectives on American Short Fiction, which begins on 10-22-13, from 1:00 pm to 3;00 pm, click here.



Financial Decision-Making in the Age of Uncertainty

October 15, 2013
 “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong” - (Warren Buffett)    

In his upcoming class, “Minimizing Washington’s Impact On Assets, Estates, And Investing In The “New Recovery” Era“, Bill Frisco warns us about being confronted with a variety of new tax laws, estate and gift laws, along with the threat of rising interest rates that could decimate a bond portfolio.

To that end, he has called in some of top financial specialists in financial planning, law, real estate and more, to get us the crucial advice we need in these uncertain times. We asked him a few questions about his upcoming class.

WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your upcoming class?

Frisco: My seminar will provide individuals with a comprehensive and current financial planning update. I’ve invited professionals as guest lecturers to give us a detailed view of minimizing Washington’s impact on our finances.

WIH Reporter: Who are these guests that you are bringing to class?

Frisco: They include Jim Byerly, a board certified estate planning attorney, who will review the new tax laws impacting transferring assets to your heirs and charities. He will also present strategies to minimize the taxes on your estate. I’ve also invited Guy T

abor, CPA, to help you understand all the new major tax laws for 2013, including the new maximum tax brackets, ObamaCare Surtax, and the new limitations that may reduce your charitable, mortgage interest and property tax deductions.

WIH Reporter: What information will you be presenting?

Frisco: As a Senior Vice-president-Wealth Advisor at a major global investment management company, I will review the major threats to your investment portfolio, and present strategies to reduce the impact of rising interest rates on your bond investments. I will also discuss ways to help reduce risk in the ever volatile stock market, and attractive investment opportunities.

Bill Frisco’s class starts on October 31st, from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. For more information or to register, click here.