Book Series facilitates discussion for alumni

Looking to expand continuing education for the alumni population, the USF Alumni Association in conjunction with the Humanities Institute has created a Book Series. The Book Series will allow literary works to be discussed in an informal setting and have ideas and opinions on the books interchanged.

Today at 6 p.m. the Great Books Series will have its second session and will focus on Niccolo Machiavelli’s book The Prince.

“It’s a fairly informal discussion,” said Keven Woodard, the director of College and Corporate Relations for the USF Alumni Association.

The first discussion forum, which gathered close to 40 attendees, took place on March 30 and was led by professor Joanne Waugh from USF philosophy department.

The first session concentrated on Plato’s The Republic, and according to Woodard, inspired many prior attendees to register for the second session.

“Most of the people who attended the first (session) immediately signed up for the second session,” Woodard said.

Silvia Ruffo Fiore, professor of English and comparative literature, will be leading the second session of the book series.

“The session is an inquiry in to the ideas and the context of the ideas of Machiavelli,” Fiore said. “And to create a dialogue about his ideas and about the relevance to today’s society,”

Fiore said she wants to discuss The Prince during the session as a work of literature and not only as a work of politics.

“I want to address the rhetorical strategy, the imaginative and narrative nature of (Machiavelli’s) work,” she added.

The already registered participants will come to the session with a package that was put together by the professor leading the discussion. Such study guides for tonight’s session would serve as an outline for the discussion and will include an overview of the historical and political background of the book.

Fiore explained that there are three major problems with reading The Prince.

She said most people that read The Prince don’t address Machiavelli’s literary strategy and often only consider its political and historical significance. Another major difficulty people may encounter while reading The Prince is the fact that the original text was written in Italian, something Fiore insists is a problem because much of context is lost in translation.

In addition to discussing these major problems, the session will talk about why this particular piece of literature is a great book, why it is a constant Top-10 book on reading lists for colleges nationwide and predominantly, what attracts this book to generation after generation.

The session will offer refreshments including a light buffet dinner and desert and will be held at Traditions Hall at the Gibbons Alumni Center, which is part of the Alumni Center’s new and extended area.

Although people are encouraged to register before the event, Woodard said, newcomers are welcome to attend the event. The charge is $10 for USF Alumni Association members and $15 for non-members. Extra study guides will also be available at the discussion.