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Melbourne Uni to hold public lectures on ‘10 Great Books’

The University of Melbourne will hold a series of public lectures based on ‘10 Great Books’ throughout 2014.

The series, which will launch in February with a discussion of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Émile or On Education by Peter McPhee, will involve 10 academics each delivering a lecture about one of the books at the university’s Parkville campus each month. The two-hour long events will also include time for audience discussion and questions.

Among the other selected books and the academics who will lead the discussions are:

  • The Prince (Niccolò Machiavelli), presented by Glyn Davis
  • The Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer), presented by Stephanie Trigg
  • Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë), presented by Deirdre Coleman
  • Utilitarianism (John Stuart Mill), presented by Peter Singer
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Ludwig Wittgenstein), presented by Greg Restall
  • Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes), presented by Mark Considine
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison, Vintage), presented by Clara Tuite
  • The Female Eunuch (Germaine Greer, HarperPerennial), presented by Marilyn Lake.


The cost of each event is $49 or $430 for the full series, with discounts available to Melbourne University students, staff and alumni, as well as members of the Co-op and the National Gallery of Victoria. Various editions of the selected books will be sold at the events by the Co-op, which operates a bookshop on campus.

Dean of Arts at the University of Melbourne Mark Considine told Books+Publishing that the series came about when a group of senior academics in the university’s Faculty of Arts met in 2013 ‘to consider the question of how the university might reach beyond its walls and engage with a broader community about some of the key texts that have shaped the humanities and social sciences’. ‘After prolonged and sustained debate, a “short” list of some 75 great books was agreed upon [and] this list has now been refined to ten texts for the series,’ said Considine. ‘We see it as an opportunity to share the university’s expertise with a public keen to engage deeply with the world around them.’

Considine said that in most cases, once presenters were recruited for the series, they selected the book they wanted to speak about. ‘So what we have is one of the great books in history being taught by an expert who chose it [and] who is passionate about that book,’ he said.

For more information about the events, visit the University of Melbourne website here.



Category: Local news