Your humble(ish) host just made his annual Piraeus pilgrimage to St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, this time to participate in a four-day seminar about Moby Dick and score a great interview.
I managed to get legendary tutor Eva Brann to take a break from her crazy schedule and sit down for a 45-minute conversation about the college’s Great Books program and how she’s seen it change (and stay the same) in her fifty-seven years at the school.
We also talk about the value of a liberal arts education, the one novel she’d add to the St. John’s curriculum, the need professors have to profess (and why St. John’s has tutors instead of professors), her swoon for Odysseus, her desert island book, her one criterion for a great novel, where she sees the school going in the next fifty-seven years, the Dostoevsky-or-Tolstoy debate, and more, including a boatload of questions I solicited from alumni. It’s a fascinating conversation with one of the most learned people in the world.
Books by Eva Brann and those related to the topic of this article may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.
Eva Brann is a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. She is a tutor at St. John’s College, Annapolis. In 2005 she was the recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Her writings include Music of the Republic: Essays on Socrates’ Conversations and Plato’s Writings and Homage to Americans: Mile-high Meditations, Close Readings, and Time-Spanning Speculations. This post originally appeared on Virtual Memories and is republished here with the gracious permission of Gil Roth.