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Great Conversations

For the past eight years our group has been discussing short stories, essays and poetry, with a few longer readings mixed in. The subjects of our chats? This, that and the other thing. As one of our members said long ago, “This is the beginning of a great adventure!”

Joseph Conrad has taken us deep into the Heart of Darkness; in Roman Fever, Edith Wharton allowed us to eavesdrop on a long-ago romantic rivalry between two wealthy matrons; Thucydides introduced us to power politics between Athens and Sparta with the tiny isle of Melos as the prize. F. Scott Fitzgerald told us of the beginning of the end in The Crackup. We’ve met J. Alfred Prufrock and the Emperor of Ice Cream. We’ve conversed with Tobias Wolff in The Garden of the North American Martyrs.

We’ve considered the pleasure and pain of keeping a journal: and what Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, John Cheever and Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. have to say about it. We’ve introduced ourselves to George Orwell, and learned about the misuse and abuse of words by politicians. We’ve discussed The Great Gatsby, learning about East Egg, West Egg and the Valley of Ashes, not to mention Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Nick, and more.

The adventure continues. Coming up are a discussion of political correctness (we stay far, far away from partisan politics, but of the newfound reluctance to offend anyone in any way about anything, there is much to be said). We'll discuss Annie Dillard’s wonderful essay, “Seeing”; writing by Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker which is sure to provoke laughter; and two revealing stories by Flannery O'Connor. There are many more to come.

We hope you'll join us on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 2-4 p.m. for smart, friendly conversation about shoes and ships and sealing wax, not to mention cabbages and kings, and who knows what else?

Members of the group will receive an email reminder prior to each meeting providing the time and location of the gathering.

If you're interested or have questions, please contact John Bruns, the Deputy Emperor of Ice Cream and group coordinator, at

Contact Us

Osher Institute
Special Programs Building 100
28 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173
Phone: (804) 287-6608
Fax: (804) 287-1264

Monday-Friday: 8:30am–5pm
Closed for University holidays