January 18, 2011

iPad and the Classics

UC Berkeley campus

So I took the bus up to campus looking for the collection of bookstores that might have the Neruda I wanted.  Yes, I could order it on Amazon, but I wanted to go hunting.  I didn’t find what I wanted, but I did get the Hubert Dreyfus/ Sean Kelly book, All Things Shining, Reading The Western Classics To Find Meaning In A Secular World. 

This book I mentioned earlier and also mentioned the course Professor Dreyfus was giving for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley.  The course is called “The Promise of Polytheism – from the Odyssey to Moby Dick.”  As I sat on the bus on the way home browsing through the book, I determined that I had to sign up for the course.  It seems to be in great demand and they’ve moved it to another venue to accommodate a larger audience.

Professor Dreyfus is an acclaimed lecturer in the philosophy department at Berkeley.  He specializes in existentialism and refers often to Merleau-Ponty (The Phenomenology of Perception) whose area is “embodiment.”  It’s all quite heady, but actually Dreyfus and Kelly are plain speakers and write in the most accessible and engaging way.

The texts will include Dreyfus’ book, plus The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, and Moby Dick.  Thank goodness I’ve read these texts as I wouldn’t want to have to stuff them into my head in the six week period of the course.  Nevertheless, I’ll reread and the happy thing for me is that I can access these texts on my iPad free as they are available on the Free Books application in the public domain.  It was great to realize that I could carry my texts around in one thin volume.  What a relief that I didn’t have to go hunting through libraries or book stores.  Within two minutes they will be at hand.  It’s incredibly amazing.  I’m so grateful.

Still no Neruda in hand.  Only the dead man who may be floating around somewhere writing in space.