The Newberry Seminars Program is grounded in the idea that people enjoy learning in small classes through an open exchange of knowledge and conversation. Our program offers a stimulating series of non-credit, adult education classes that encourage dialogue on subjects in the humanities that relate to the Newberry’s vast collections. Experts teach literature, music, history, philosophy, religion, language, genealogy, and creative writing in the classrooms of one of the world’s premier research and reference libraries.

Seminars differ in size, duration, cost, and format. The Seminars Program includes three terms:

  • Winter/Spring: mid-February through early May
  • Summer: June through early August
  • Fall: mid-September through early December

For a list of this term’s course offerings, please view our Seminar Schedule

Newberry Seminars

AMERICAN PASTORAL: AMERICAN TR

AMERICAN PASTORAL: AMERICAN TR

$17.00
More Info
Seymour "Swede" Levov - a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, the prosperous inheritor of his father's Newark glove factory - comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar America. But everything he loves is lost when the country begins to run amok in the turbulent 1960s. Not even the most private, well-intentioned citizens, it seems, gets to sidestep the sweep of history. "American Pastoral" is the story of a fortunate American's rise and fall - of a strong, confident master of social equilibrium overwhelmed by the forces of social disorder. For the Swede is not allowed to stay forever blissful inside the beloved hundred-and-seventy-year-old stone farmhouse, in rural Old Rimrock, where he lives with his pretty wife - the college sweetheart who was Miss New Jersey of 1949 - and the lively, precocious daughter who is the apple of his eye. The apple of his eye, that is, until she grows up to be a revolutionary terrorist bent on destroying her father's paradise. "American Pastoral" presents a vivid portrait of how the innocence of Swede Levov is swept away by the times - of how everything industriously created by his family in America over three generations is left in a shambles by the explosion of a bomb in his own bucolic backyard.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Here is Philip Roth's masterpiece—an elegy for the American century's promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth's protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father's glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede's beautiful American luck deserts him.

For Swede's adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism. And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longed-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, American Pastoral gives us Philip Roth at the height of his powers.

American Visa

American Visa

$14.95
More Info
"American Visa is beautifully written, atmospheric, and stylish in the manner of Chandler . . . a smart, exotic crime fiction offering."--George Pelecanos, author of The Night Gardener

American Visa is a stunning literary achievement. It is insightful and poignant, a book every thoughtful American should read, and once read, read again.--William Heffernan, Edgar Award-winning author of The Corsican

In his search for an American visa, the high school teacher in this novel embodies the dreams and aspirations of many would-be immigrants south of the border. This is a thriller with a social conscience, a contemporary noir with lots of humor and flair. The streets of La Paz have never looked so alive. This is one of the best Latin American novels of the last fifteen years. --Edmundo Paz-Soldan, author of Turing's Delirium

Mario Alvarez is tremendous, an everyman desperate to escape Bolivia's despair who can't elude his own tricks of self-sabotage. At a time when the debate around U.S. immigration reduces many people around the world to caricatures, this singular and provocative portrait of the issue will connect with readers of all political stripes. --Arthur Nersesian, author of Suicide Casanova

Armed with fake papers, a handful of gold nuggets, and a snazzy custom-made suit, an unemployed schoolteacher with a singular passion for detective fiction sets out from small-town Bolivia on a desperate quest for an American visa, his best hope for escaping his painful past and reuniting with his grown son in Miami.

Mario Alvarez's dream of emigration takes a tragicomic twist on the rough streets of La Paz, Bolivia's seat of government. Alvarez embarks on a series of Kafkaesque adventures, crossing paths with a colorful cast of hustlers, social outcasts, and crooked politicians--and initiating a romance with a straight-shooting prostitute named Blanca. Spurred on by his detective fantasies and his own tribulations, he hatches a plan to rob a wealthy gold dealer, a decision that draws him into a web of high-society corruption but also brings him closer than ever to obtaining his ticket to paradise.

Juan de Recacoechea was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and worked as a journalist in Europe for almost twenty years. After returning to his native country, he helped found Bolivia's first state-run television network, served as its general manager, and dedicated himself to fiction writing. Recacoechea is the author of seven novels. American Visa is his first novel to be translated into English.

Armed with fake papers, a handful of gold nuggets, and a snazzy custom-made suit, an unemployed schoolteacher with a singular passion for detective fiction sets out from small-town Bolivia on a desperate quest for an American visa, his best hope for escaping his painful past and reuniting with his grown son in Miami.

Mario Alvarez's dream of emigration takes a tragicomic twist on the rough streets of La Paz, Bolivia's seat of government. Alvarez embarks on a series of Kafkaesque adventures, crossing paths with a colorful cast of hustlers, social outcasts, and crooked politicians—and initiating a romance with a straight-shooting prostitute named Blanca. Spurred on by his detective fantasies and his own tribulations, he hatches a plan to rob a wealthy gold dealer, a decision that draws him into a web of high-society corruption but also brings him closer than ever to obtaining his ticket to paradise.

Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry

Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry

$30.00
More Info
Never before has there been a single-volume anthology of modern Irish poetry so significant and groundbreaking as An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry. Collected here is a comprehensive representation of Irish poetic achievement in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from poets such as Austin Clarke and Samuel Beckett who were writing while Yeats and Joyce were still living; to those who came of age in the turbulent '60s as sectarian violence escalated, including Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley; to a new generation of Irish writers, represented by such diverse, interesting voices as David Wheatley (born 1970) and Sinéad Morrissey (born 1972). Scholar and editor Wes Davis has chosen work by more than fifty leading modern and contemporary Irish poets. Each poet is represented by a generous number of poems (there are nearly 800 poems in the anthology). The editor's selection includes work by world-renowned poets, including a couple of Nobel Prize winners, as well as work by poets whose careers may be less well known to the general public; by poets writing in English; and by several working in the Irish language (Gaelic selections appear in translation). Accompanying the selections are a general introduction that provides a historical overview, informative short essays on each poet, and helpful notes--all prepared by the editor.

Never before has there been a single-volume anthology of modern Irish poetry so significant and groundbreaking as An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry. Collected here is a comprehensive representation of Irish poetic achievement in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from poets such as Austin Clarke and Samuel Beckett who were writing while Yeats and Joyce were still living; to those who came of age in the turbulent ’60s as sectarian violence escalated, including Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley; to a new generation of Irish writers, represented by such diverse, interesting voices as David Wheatley (born 1970) and Sinéad Morrissey (born 1972). Scholar and editor Wes Davis has chosen work by more than fifty leading modern and contemporary Irish poets. Each poet is represented by a generous number of poems (there are nearly 800 poems in the anthology). The editor’s selection includes work by world-renowned poets, including a couple of Nobel Prize winners, as well as work by poets whose careers may be less well known to the general public; by poets writing in English; and by several working in the Irish language (Gaelic selections appear in translation). Accompanying the selections are a general introduction that provides a historical overview, informative short essays on each poet, and helpful notes―all prepared by the editor.

CRUCIBLE

CRUCIBLE

$15.00
More Info
A haunting examination of groupthink and mass hysteria in a rural community

A Penguin Classic

I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history, Arthur Miller wrote in an introduction to The Crucible, his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria.

In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.

Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunts in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing: Political opposition...is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

DANIEL DERONDA

DANIEL DERONDA

$12.00
More Info
zadaadadad asd asd asd asd asd qeqeqweqeqew

As "Daniel Deronda" opens, Gwendolen Harleth is poised at the roulette-table, prepared to throw away her family fortune. She is observed by Daniel Deronda, a young man groomed in the finest tradition of the English upper-classes. And while Gwendolen loses everything and becomes trapped in an oppressive marriage, Deronda's fortunes take a different turn. After a dramatic encounter with the young Jewish woman Mirah, he becomes involved in a search for her lost family and finds himself drawn into ever-deeper sympathies with Jewish aspirations and identity. 'I meant everything in the book to be related to everything else', wrote George Eliot of her last and most ambitious novel, and in weaving her plot strands together she created a bold and richly textured picture of British society and the Jewish experience within it.

Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors

Everyday Life in Medieval London: From the Anglo-Saxons to the Tudors

$15.95
More Info
Our capital city has always been a thriving and colourful place, full of diverse and determined individuals developing trade and finance, exchanging gossip and doing business. Abandoned by the Romans, rebuilt by the Saxons, occupied by the Vikings and reconstructed by the Normans, London would become the largest trade and financial centre, dominating the world in later centuries. London has always been a brilliant, vibrant and eclectic place - Henry V was given a triumphal procession there after his return from Agincourt and the Lord Mayor's river pageant was an annual medieval spectacular. William the Conqueror built the Tower, Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, Wat Tyler led the peasants in revolt across London Bridge and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was the first book produced on Caxton's new printing press in Westminster. But beneath the colour and pageantry lay dirt, discomfort and disease, the daily grind for ordinary folk. Like us, they had family problems, work worries, health concerns and wondered about the weather.

Our capital city has always been a thriving and colourful place, full of diverse and determined individuals developing trade and finance, exchanging gossip and doing business.Abandoned by the Romans, rebuilt by the Saxons, occupied by the Vikings and reconstructed by the Normans, London would become the largest trade and financial centre, dominating the world in later centuries. London has always been a brilliant, vibrant and eclectic place – Henry V was given a triumphal procession there after his return from Agincourt and the Lord Mayor’s river pageant was an annual medieval spectacular. William the Conqueror built the Tower, Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, Wat Tyler led the peasants in revolt across London Bridge and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was the first book produced on Caxton’s new printing press in Westminster.But beneath the colour and pageantry lay dirt, discomfort and disease, the daily grind for ordinary folk. Like us, they had family problems, work worries, health concerns and wondered about the weather.

Fatal Eggs

Fatal Eggs

$8.99
More Info
As the turbulent years following the Russian revolution of 1917 settle down into a new Soviet reality, the brilliant and eccentric zoologist Persikov discovers an amazing ray that drastically increases the size and reproductive rate of living organisms. At the same time, a mysterious plague wipes out all the chickens in the Soviet republics. The government expropriates Persikov's untested invention in order to rebuild the poultry industry, but a horrible mix-up quickly leads to a disaster that could threaten the entire world. This H. G. Wells-inspired novel by the legendary Mikhail Bulgakov is the only one of his larger works to have been published in its entirety during the author's lifetime. A poignant work of social science fiction and a brilliant satire on the Soviet revolution, it can now be enjoyed by English-speaking audiences through this accurate new translation. Includes annotations and afterword.
GREAT BELIEVERS

GREAT BELIEVERS

$17.00
More Info
PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOK OF 2018
LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER
ALA CARNEGIE MEDAL WINNER
THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD WINNER

Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler

"A page turner . . . An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it's like to live during times of crisis." --The New York Times Book Review

A dazzling novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Named a Best Book of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, The Seattle Times, Bustle, Newsday, AM New York, BookPage, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lit Hub, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, New York Public Library and Chicago Public Library

Havana Blue

Havana Blue

$14.95
More Info

Praise for the Havana Quartet:

"Overlaid with a rich smoky patina, an atmosphere that reeks of slums and riches, cigar smoke and exotic perfumes. Havana Black is a strong tasting book, a rich feast of wit and feeling."--The Independent

"Drenched with that beguiling otherness so appealing to fans of mysteries of other cultures, it will also appeal to those who appreciate the sultry lyricism of James Lee Burke."--Booklist

"A great plot, perfectly executed with huge atmosphere. You can almost smell the cigar smoke, rum and cheap women."--Daily Mirror

"Havana Red, another winner from Bitter Lemon Press."--The New York Times

Lieutenant Mario Conde is suffering from a terrible New Year's Eve hangover. Though it's the middle of a weekend, he is asked to urgently investigate the mysterious disappearance of Rafael Morin, a high-level business manager in the Cuban nomenklatura. Conde remembered Morin from their student days: good-looking, brilliant, a "reliable comrade'' who always got what he wanted, including Tamara, the girl Conde was after.

But Rafael Morin's exemplary rise from a poor barrio and picture-perfect life hides more than one suspicious episode worthy of investigation. While pursuing the case in a decaying but adored Havana, Conde confronts his lost love for Tamara and the dreams and illusions of his generation.

HEART OF A DOG

HEART OF A DOG

$16.00
More Info
I first read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita on a balcony of the Hotel Metropole in Saigon on three summer evenings in 1971. The tropical air was heavy and full of the smells of cordite and motorcycle exhaust and rotting fish and wood-fire stoves, and the horizon flared ambiguously, perhaps from heat lightning, perhaps from bombs. Later each night, as was my custom, I would wander out into the steamy back alleys of the city, where no one ever seemed to sleep, and crouch in doorways with the people and listen to the stories of their culture and their ancestors and their ongoing lives. Bulgakov taught me to hear something in those stories that I had not yet clearly heard. One could call it, in terms that would soon thereafter gain wide currency, magical realism. The deadpan mix of the fantastic and the realistic was at the heart of the Vietnamese mythos. It is at the heart of the present zeitgeist. And it was not invented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as wonderful as his One Hundred Years of Solitude is. Garcia Marquez's landmark work of magical realism was predated by nearly three decades by Bulgakov's brilliant masterpiece of a novel. That summer in Saigon a vodka-swilling, talking black cat, a coven of beautiful naked witches, Pontius Pilate, and a whole cast of benighted writers of Stalinist Moscow and Satan himself all took up permanent residence in my creative unconscious. Their presence, perhaps more than anything else from the realm of literature, has helped shape the work I am most proud of. I'm often asked for a list of favorite authors. Here is my advice. Read Bulgakov. Look around you at the new century. He will show you things you need to see.