New York City


In the Beatles' Wake

Mark Spicer '01 Ph.D.

Mondays, October 2 - November 20,  2:30 -4:00 pm

Location: Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

 

Course Description:

This eight-week course will serve as a sequel to my two-part course on the Beatles offered in Fall 2015 and Fall 2016, although taking these prior classes is not a prerequisite for this new course. This semester we will focus on the legacy of the Beatles—that is, the extraordinary influence this group has had and continues to have in shaping not only the landscape of recorded popular music, but our postmodern world itself.

 

Required Materials:

Tim Riley, Tell Me Why—The Beatles: Album by Album, Song by Song, The Sixties and After, revised and updated edition (New York: Da Capo Press, 2002).

Rob Sheffield, Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World (New York: HarperCollins, 2017).

Both these books are inexpensive and readily available at amazon.com and elsewhere. I will also expect all participants to have a Spotify account (for which you can sign up for free at spotify.com), as this will be the easiest way for you to have access to the listening assignments from week to week.

 

Course Syllabus:

What follows is a general outline of the topics to be covered, and I will give you a more detailed description of what to listen to or read for each week’s class as the course unfolds. By way of introducing the course, we will spend our first class re-examining the Sgt. Pepper album from the perspective of its fiftieth anniversary. For Weeks 2–5, we will explore the work of each of the four Beatles in turn, both from the standpoint of their individual contributions to the group, as well as their respective solo careers after the Beatles broke up. In Week 6, we will focus on two other British groups in 1967—the Who and the Zombies—who released albums in direct response to Sgt. Pepper. In Week 7, we will focus on two British groups that emerged in the Beatles’ wake—the Electric Light Orchestra (whose heyday was in the 1970s), and Tears for Fears (whose heyday was in the 1980s)— each of whom demonstrated a profound anxiety of influence towards the Beatles. Finally, in Week 8 we will frame our discussion around Rob Sheffield’s excellent new book Dreaming the Beatles.

 

Course Dates:

Week 1- Oct. 2: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at fifty

Week 2- Oct. 9: John Lennon

Week 3- Oct. 16: Paul McCartney

Week 4- Oct. 23: George Harrison

Week 5- Oct. 30: Ringo Starr

Week 6- Nov. 6: Two other British groups in 1967: the Who and the Zombies

Week 7- Nov. 13: The anxiety of the Beatles’ influence: Electric Light Orchestra and Tears for Fears

Week 8- Nov. 20: Dreaming the Beatles

 

Professor Mark Spicer 

 

Mark Spicer is Professor of Music at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He received his B.Mus. and M.Mus. (1987, 1990) from the University of North Texas and his Ph.D. (2001) from Yale University. Prof. Spicer specializes in the reception history and analysis of popular music, especially British pop and rock since the 1960s, and his writings have appeared widely in a number of scholarly journals and essay collections. His book Sounding Out Pop, co-edited with John Covach, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2010, and he has since edited the volume on Rock Music for the Library of Essays on Popular Music series from Ashgate (2011). Most recently, he completed a three-year term (2013–15) as Associate Editor of Music Theory Spectrum, the flagship journal of the Society for Music Theory.

Prof. Spicer served for ten years (2005–15) as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music at Hunter College, as was the 2015 recipient of Hunter’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to his scholarship and teaching, he maintains an active parallel career as a professional keyboardist and vocalist, having worked with several groups in the US and the UK since the 1980s. In the early 1990s, he was a founding member of the critically acclaimed group Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks, and can be heard on their first two CDs, On the Blank Generation (1991) and World of Fireworks (1994). He continues to take the stage most weekends, both with his own “electric R&B” group, the Bernadettes, and with the Christ Church Choir in New Haven.


 

Reading Australia

Paul Kane '73 B.A., '90 Ph.D.

Mondays, October 2 - November 20,  4:15 -5:45 pm

Location: Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

 

Course Description:

Postcolonial cultures are often divided into two types: indigenous and settler, according to the circumstances of colonization and subsequent history.  This course will examine one of the settler cultures, Australia, through the lens of its literature, as it has developed since the nation's origins as a British penal colony.  The focus, however, will be mainly on modern and contemporary literature, which has developed with extraordinary vitality in recent decades.  In addition to exploring the dynamics of this new Australian literature, we will consider the impact of British and American influences, and the unique situation of Aboriginal culture in Australia.  In placing it in the broad context of globalized writing in the 21st century, we seek to understand Australia's ongoing contribution to anglophone literature.  Authors will include Peter Carey, Helen Garner, David Malouf, Gwen Harwood, Alice Pung, Les Murray, Alex Miller and others.

 

Course Dates:            Syllabus TBD:

Week 1- Oct. 2:

Week 2- Oct. 9:

Week 3- Oct. 16:

Week 4- Oct. 23:

Week 5- Oct. 30:

Week 6- Nov. 6:

Week 7- Nov. 13:

Week 8- Nov. 20:

 

Professor Paul Kane

Paul Kane is an American scholar and poet.  He has published eighteen books, including five collections of poems, with two in Chinese translation.  His work appears in The Paris Review, The New Republic, Poetry, The New Criterion, Religion & Literature, The Kenyon Review, Verse, Wordsworth Circle, Raritan, Partisan Review, and elsewhere.  He is the poetry editor of Antipodes and serves as Artistic Director of the Mildura Writers Festival and General Editor of The Braziller Series of Australian Poets.  His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Bogliasco Foundation, as well as a Fulbright Grant to Australia.  He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale, and an MA from Melbourne University; in 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University. He has taught at Yale University and Monash University and is currently Professor of English at Vassar College, where he also teaches in the Environmental Studies Program.  He divides his time between homes in Warwick, New York, and Talbot, Victoria, in Australia. 

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Jane Eyre and Great Expectations         

Priscilla Gilman '93 BA '02 PhD  

Mondays, October 2 - November 6, 6:00- 7:30 pm

Location: Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

 

Course Description: 

Together, we'll read two of the greatest novels in the English language.  Both are classics of the Victorian period, both are first-person bildungsromans, and both are deeply influenced by the literature of the romantic period.   We'll spend three classes on each novel.

 

Course Material:

Jane Eyre -(Oxford World's Classics)

Great Expectations - (Penguin Classics)

* Kindle versions are not recommended  

 

Course Dates:            Syllabus TBD:

Week 1- Oct. 2:

Week 2- Oct. 9:

Week 3- Oct. 16:

Week 4- Oct. 23:

Week 5- Oct. 30:

Week 6- Nov. 6:


 

Milton's Paradise Lost    

Priscilla Gilman '93 BA '02 PhD  

Mondays, October 2 - November 20, 7:45 - 9:15 pm

Location: Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10017

 

Course Description: 

If you've never had the chance to delve into Milton's masterpiece or if you miss the spirited discussions of English 125, this class is for you.  Some attention will be paid to Milton's early poetry, but most of our time will be spent on Paradise Lost.   Please note that this is an eight-week class.

Course Material:

Paradise Lost  Milton, The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)

 

Course Dates:            Syllabus TBD:

Week 1- Oct. 2:

Week 2- Oct. 9:

Week 3- Oct. 16:

Week 4- Oct. 23:

Week 5- Oct. 30:

Week 6- Nov. 6:

Week 7- Nov. 13:

Week 8- Nov. 20:

 

Professor Priscilla Gilman

Priscilla Gilman is a former assistant professor of English at Yale and Vassar and the author of The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy (Harper), a memoir filled with the romantic poetry she specialized in as an academic.  Priscilla grew up in New York City and graduated from The Brearley School and Yale summa cum laude with exceptional distinction in the English major. She went on to earn her masters and Ph.D. in English and American literature at Yale, and spent two years as an assistant professor of English at Yale and four years as an assistant professor of English at Vassar College before leaving academia in 2006.  The Anti-Romantic Child, Gilman’s first book, was excerpted in Newsweek magazine and featured on the cover of its international edition. It was an NPR Morning Edition Must-Read, Slate‘s Book of the Week, selected as one the Best Books of 2011 by the Leonard Lopate Show, and chosen as a Best Book of 2011 by The Chicago Tribune. The Anti-Romantic Child was one of five nominees for a Books for a Better Life Award for Best First Book and was awarded the Mom’s Choice Gold Award, rewarding the best in family-friendly media and literature.  Gilman writes about literature, parenting, autism, and education and reviews fiction and literary non-fiction for the Daily Beast, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times’ Motherlode, The Chicago Tribune, MORE, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Redbook, the Boston Globe, and Huff Post Parents.  Gilman has been the parenting/education advice columnist for #1 best-selling author Susan Cain's Quiet Revolution website and a Scholar/Facilitator for the New York Council for the Humanities.   A prize-winning teacher and with a background in the performing arts, Gilman leads book groups and private writing workshops in New York City and speaks frequently at schools, conferences, and organizations about parenting, education, and the arts.  She is now at work on her second book, The Critic's Daughter, which will be published by W.W. Norton. 

 


 

 

 

 

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