Great Books at Oxford: Ilan Stavans


Ilan Stavans

In honor of our second year at Oxford, we asked the faculty, staff, and some campers to share their experiences of the inaugural year. Ilan Stavans, Ph.D., leads the Great Books faculty on the Amherst campus and is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Cultures at Amherst College. He is the prize-winning author of numerous books and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Latino Literature Prize.

Oxford last year was a thrill. I used the opportunity to explore, in conversations with the bright, engaged campers, the world of Oxford dons such as Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), J. R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), and C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia). We also visited Harry Potter and his friends through Christchurch and, more significantly than anything else, we explored Shakespeare, analyzing portions of The Merchant of Venice and visiting Stratford-on-Avon, where we attended, at The Swan, a performance of Measure for Measure with the Royal Shakespeare Company. By being in another setting, the usual high-minded meditations we have in the Great Books Summer Program felt new: we connected with history, poetry, and theater “with a British accent.”

For more information about Great Books on the Oxford campus this summer, visit the website or call 866-480-7323.

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