For our young NSOP-ers, the academic year has already begun. Intrepid Iliad-er and Feisty Freshperson Garrett Donnelly gives us his report of the first Lit Hum lecture.
So we all walk into Roone Arledge Auditorium, each with our slightly dusty copies of The Iliad (thank God for the three-day weekend), to inaugurate our class’ entrance to Columbia’s academic life.
Let’s go freshmen.
The class was divided into two lectures (I say lectures, although each were only 20-30 minutes). The first was on “Homer and Harlem,” and focused on Harlem-based artist Romare Bearden and his paintings’ relationship with Homer’s texts. Bearden’s take on Homer’s works led the professor to place subtle hints that we are in Bearden’s position as we open our Iliad and begin our own journeys as artists. This is a theme I assume will become very Columbia. (Not to diminish the idea – it’s why we’re here, after all).
All this said, I only realized what the talk was about afterwards, and during it I kept thinking, “Wait, what? Bearden was so not in Sparknotes.” Then, of course, followed The Iliad talk itself.
Professor and Lit Hum chair Julie Crawford opened up the main lecture with a slew of intimidating PowerPoint slides filled with large passages from The Iliad. She covered several large themes with brief, in-depth looks at the passages and maintained that scholarly-but-casual attitude you just have to love.
A good amount of people brought their pen and paper and scribbled down key passages. Others watched as if at a movie. And the nappers, well…napped. The obligatory Q&A gave some lucky students the chance to understand more about the Iliad or—for that one guy whose question sounded remarkably like something out of The Iliad’s introduction—a chance to show off.
Regardless, both of the talks were introductions not only to The Iliad but to the quality of the scholarship and the professors here. Pretty cool and exciting for all of us newbies.
And yeah, let’s go freshmen.
“After Church” by Romare Bearden via Wikimedia