The Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 24, 2000
January 24, 2000
VOL. 29, NO. 19


Gettysburg to Moscow: 'Odyssey' Continues

Spring courses explore cultural history, forensic science, decor and more

By Neil A. Grauer

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The noncredit Odyssey program of the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education will again this spring present a wide-ranging curriculum--offering new insights on everything from the military mayhem at Gettysburg to forensic mysteries in local murders; from the multifaceted cultural history of Moscow to Manhattan in the 1950s; from the unexplored charms of Southern Italy, ancestral home to most Italian-Americans, to the glories of Baltimore's great mansions.

Innovative analyses are the keystone of such Odyssey courses as The Exodus, in which Rabbi David Fohrman, resident scholar of the Hoffberger Institute for Torah Studies, will use ancient texts to piece together the hidden "story behind the story" of the Jews' exodus from Egypt. In Gettysburg: The Battle, The Legend, such renowned Civil War experts as Edwin Coles Bearss, familiar to viewers of Ken Burns' The Civil War as chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service, will provide new ways of looking at the greatest battle ever fought in North America. And top forensic scientists will explain in The Dead Do Tell Tales: Forensic Science and the Solving of Mysteries how they solve murder mysteries with only a shred of evidence.

In cooperation with the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery, the Odyssey program will offer The Triumph of French Painting, providing a sweeping survey of the evolution of French painting from the 17th-century French court of Louis XIV to the roots of modern art with Henri Matisse. Inside Baltimore's Mansions: Art, Decor and Life will explore how such historic residential showplaces as Homewood House and Evergreen House open a window on Baltimore's past.

The ancestors of most Italian-Americans came from Southern Italy, yet it remains unfamiliar to most travelers. The Unknown Italy: Naples and Points South will shed light on this captivating region in an eight-part lecture series that includes a buffet dinner reception featuring Southern Italian foods and wines. Heading farther east in Europe, what Aleksandr Pushkin called "the golden domes of Moscow" come into focus in Moscow Through Art, Literature and Ballet, a five-week slide- and video-illustrated course that examines the history of Russia's capital through its artistic and literary masterpieces.

Closer to home, the cultural explosion that erupted in Manhattan a half-century ago--from Abstract Expressionism and be-bop jazz to the "Beat Generation" and MAD magazine--is the focus of New York in the 1950s. In our own community, Frank Shivers Jr., author of Walking in Baltimore and a winner of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, will capture Canton's magic by boat and on foot in a three-part lecture series and study tour.

And the centenary of Oscar Wilde's death will be marked by The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde, a five-week course that separates the man from his mystique, exploring the enduring fascination of Wilde's brilliant bon mots, plays and books.

For a complete listing of courses and other information, check the Odyssey Web site at or telephone 410-516-4842.

Authors to Read at Creative Writing
Open House

Poet Joyce Brown and novelist Louise Titchener will read from their own works at an upcoming Creative Writing open house of the Odyssey Program.

Brown, a lecturer in The Writing Seminars, is poetry editor of the Baltimore City Paper and author of poems that have appeared in such journals as The American Scholar, The Tennessee Quarterly, Commonweal, The Maryland Review and Yankee.

Titchener is author of more than 40 novels, including the mysteries Homebody and Man Trap, set in Baltimore; a book reviewer for the Washington Post; and a writing teacher for the Odyssey Program, the Smithsonian Associates and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The event will be held 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 9, in Shaffer Hall, Homewood campus.