Think Olio: The Dangerous Pleasure of Art
Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene is an 800-page British allegorical poem from the late 1500s about Christian knights or whatever that nobody reads anymore. What we care about is this 14 page section, which we are going to give you and go over in detail so you don’t need to know anything about it when you walk in the door, where one of the knights enters into the Big Bad’s pleasure garden and nearly gets ensnared.
That part of the poem, called the Bower of Bliss, is more than an adventure story and more than a great bit of poetry (it is an insanely powerful and influential bit of poetry). It is a tour-de-force intellectual analysis of the relationship between art and morality, illusion and reality, sex and masculinity and violence and pornography and women — one that outshines 100 philosophers and 1000 think-pieces about Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Louis CK, Jeffrey Tambor, and Woody Allen. Hot takes are for babies; let’s get a context hundreds of years old for the things that concern us now.
Grab your tickets before they sell out!
Blender members attend complimentarily.
Teacher: Geoff Klock
Geoff Klock has a doctorate from Oxford and is a professor at BMCC-CUNY. He teaches philosophy, Shakespeare, canonical poetry in English, parables, and film (mostly David Lynch). He is the author of four academic books on things like television shows and superheroes. He has been cited 290 times, including in the New Yorker and the LA Times and made a Hamlet Mash Up that got 57,000 views.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.