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Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore

Swarthmore College beautiful spring image of Parrish Hall

A Message from the Director

Thank you for your engaged participation in our class on "Distributive Justice." Your contributions to the course and especially your investment of time and ideas are taking this class far beyond a regular academic experience. I also know about the passionate interest in literature many of you have, and so it gives me great pleasure to announce another class with Professor Philip Weinstein: "Faulkner’s Masterpieces." After taking many of us through the challenges of Joyce’s  "Ulysses," Professor Weinstein will take us through three novels of one of the 20th century’s towering and most experimental novelists.

I 'm dedicated to the idea that LLS online classes should be available to everyone. In the past two semesters, LLS offered three free classes: "Beethoven," "Why We Need Stories," and "Ulysses." I am grateful to my colleagues for so generously giving of their time and expertise.  I also believe that the teachers of these classes deserve compensation for their work. For this reason, I ask those who are interested in "Faulkner's Masterpieces" for a class registration fee of $100. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to pay the class fee of $100, please consider a reduced contribution ($75, $50, or $25) for your place in the class. The many alumni who have taken classes with Phil Weinstein know of his brilliant and accessible ways to illuminate the most difficult writers (and Faulkner certainly qualifies for that category). I hope that many of you will take this opportunity to read one of the greatest American writers together with Phil.

Thank you for your support.

Hansjakob Werlen
Director, Lifelong Learning Swarthmore

William Faulkner - arguably America's greatest 20th-century novelist and Nobel Laureate in 1949 - launched his career as a Joyce-inspired modernist. But, a lifelong Southerner, Faulkner found his supreme subject in his country's ordeal of race. Following the poetic stream of consciousness of The Sound and the Fury (1929), the fallout of racial brutality in the South lodges at the center of Light in August (1932).  The human cost of racism attains its furthest historical and emotional resonance in Absalom! Absalom! (1936), evincing, as Phil writes, "Faulkner's widest grasp of the racial nightmare coiled at the heart of American history."

Each novel will be explored in three sessions. The first session, on April 7, is on chapter one (the Benjy chapter) of The Sound and the Fury, and session two, on  April 14, is on chapter two (the Quentin chapter) . The novel as a whole will be discussed in session three (April 21). The longer text of Light in August will be roughly divided into three sessions (April 28, May 5, 12). Discussion of the uniquely challenging - and rewarding - Absalom, Absalom! will take up the last three classes (May 19, 26, June 2)

WHEN:  Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Eastern time) for nine weeks on the following dates:  April 7,  April 14,  April 21,  April 28,  May 5,  May 12,  May 19,  May 26,  and June 2.

All classes will be recorded for participants. Participants will need to download Zoom to their computers to participate. A link to enter the class will be emailed several days prior to the first class to all registrants. 

To Register and Pay Online, Please Click the Button Below: Register For Faulkner's Masterpieces

To Register and Pay By Check:

Please make out your check to:  Swarthmore College.  Add a note on the memo line of the check stating that it is for "LLS Faulkner Class"

Send your check to: Swarthmore College Attn: Gift Records, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA  19081


Other Program Details

  • Courses taught by senior or emeriti members of Swarthmore College faculty and other experts.

  • Courses offered in each of the divisions of the College: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences/engineering.

  • No grades, no academic credit, just learning for learning's sake.

  • Open to everyone: alumni, their adult family, friends, Swarthmore College staff, and all friends of the College are welcome.

  •  Virtual classes are not limited in number of participants.

Questions? For questions about course material, contact Professor Hansjakob Werlen at For all other questions, contact Marty at