Wednesday August 25, 2010

BENNINGTON -- Registration is now open for Lea Newman’s course "The Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne," to be held at the Bennington Museum under the auspices of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI.)

Classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and will meet on subsequent Wednesdays through Oct. 6.

Hawthorne’s genius for exploring with psychological skill and literary prowess the depths of the human heart is just as evident in his short fiction as it is in his more famous novel, "The Scarlet Letter."

The human capacity for good and for evil is revealed in an assortment of stories that range from a father’s obsession with his daughter’s welfare in a secret garden in Italy to a lover’s search for perfection in a science laboratory, from an artist’s determination to create a delicate masterpiece in a world dominated by crude material concerns to a young husband’s pursuit of proof that his bride is faithful in a community where all are suspect. The symbols in these stories -- an exotically beautiful but poisonous flowering bush, a birthmark, a butterfly and a pink ribbon -- are but a sampling of Hawthorne’s masterful techniques.

To encourage class participation and interactive discussion, registration is limited to 20. For a catalog with other course listings and a registration form, log on at www.BerkshireOLLI.org or call 413-236-2190.

Lea Newman is Professor Emerita at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Her book "A Reader’s Guide to the Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne" is based on her doctoral thesis and was reviewed in American Literary Scholarship as "overshadowing all other work" on Hawthorne’s short fiction. She is past-president and archivist of the Hawthorne Society, past-president of the Melville Society, and a founding member and Vice President of the Friends of Robert Frost. She is currently completing a book on Emily Dickinson’s poetry.