The CiRCE Atrium courses are now open!

Summer 2011 Online Classes with James Taylor

Here at the CiRCE Institute we are very excited to be able to offer this brand-new initiative this summer.

Dr. James Taylor, an award-winning professor, CiRCE conference favorite, and author of the book, Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education, has agreed to join us as an instructor in our summer online courses in literature. Dr. Taylor, who won the 2008 Paideia Prize for lifetime contribution to classical education, brings years of experience teaching students at nearly every level, from middle school to graduate school, as well as a deep knowledge of, and passion for, great literature. We’re extremely excited to have him on board.

Through The CiRCE Institute’s Online Summer Classes students will:

– Learn to identify what makes great literature great
– Discuss, debate, and explore great books with a master teacher
– Study in a setting committed to the cultivation of wisdom and virtue



Dr. Taylor will be teaching two courses this summer: How To Read Shakespeare & How To Read Short Stories.

How To Read Shakespeare: May 31 – July 1

Here is the course description:

The unique difference in this Shakespeare class is that, unlike other introductory courses to the plays of the Bard, the whole play is read, not a condensed version. Neither does the syllabus call for reading other books about the plays; instead, the class follows the approach of reading Great Books, that is, to trust the original text to reveal its delight and knowledge to students who carefully read the plays with their teacher. One tragedy, Hamlet, and one comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, are selected for this summer’s class with half the time equally spent on each. Brief explanations of Shakespeare’s poetics and metrics to demonstrate his artistry are presented. However, the emphasis of the course will remain on the experience of enjoyment and appreciation rather than advancing technical and narrow academic pursuits.

For more on this course, including a syllabus and an example of what a live, in-class discussion might look like, click here.

How To Read A Short Story: July 12 – August 12

Here is the course description:

The modern short story has its origins in the tales of old, from oral to written traditions in all parts of the world. The natural impulse to tell and retell stories is man’s way of preserving his past, its delight and its wisdom. In the Western tradition, we think of Aesop’s Fables, and the collections from the Brothers Grimm. The short stories of today, like their ancestors, have all the literary elements of the drama, epic poem, and the novel, yet the short story is a distinct form and mood all its own. This is not only true because the story is shorter than the novel or epic poem, but because the skilled author must convey a kind of subtle intensity through memorable characters and their conflicts with a compression of story that is similar to the way a poet compresses language for effect in their own form. This course wil l help students learn to identify those elements which make a short story both memorable and effective.

There are seven classic short stories on the summer list. All of them are available online, free of charge, at: There are hundreds of good stories at this site in case it became necessary to make changes or additions at the teacher’s discretion.

Students may read these stories on line or print them out; and, if you have copies of these stories in book form, that is an even better source for your reading experience.

For more on this course, including a syllabus, click here.


The tuition for each of these summer courses is $250 per couse, including a $100 deposit to secure a spot. But for families interested in registering more than one person we will discount $100 on the second registration. That means that to secure two spots it will cost $400 total (including one $100 deposit).


But here’s another piece of news: After careful consideration we have decided to open these summer courses to adults as well as students. The courses will be primarily geared towards students ages 14-18 and so adults should not expect to encounter a class that delves deeply into the plays and stories from a critical standpoint. That said, adults should, with Dr. Taylor guiding them, expect to encounter Shakespeare and these several short stories in a new and exciting way.


We’re committed to providing our students with the best possible learning environment and therefore we are also committed to providing the very best in current, up-to-date online classroom technologies. Details regarding how to access this techology, including information for troubleshooting and problem solving, will be provided prior to the beginning of classes. If you have any questions please contact us via [email protected].


Dr. James Taylor holds the PhD in Philosophy of Education, Kansas University. He is previously Chairman of the Teacher Education Program at Hillsdale College, Michigan and Assistant Professor of Education, University of Tulsa. He has taught at several private schools on both the secondary (high school) and university levels. He is a student of the famous Integrated Humanities Program (in the liberal arts) at Kansas University and is the author of the wonderful book about that program, Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education. Taylor was awarded the Paideia Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Education in 2007 by The Circe Institute.


To read about our policies please click here.


We’re very excited to have Dr. Taylor on board, to be able to offer these summer courses, and to be able to invite you and your children to learn alongside us. To join us click the “apply here” button below.

Please note that space is limited to 15 students, maximum, in every class.


The CiRCE Institute’s Online Academy…Helping You Cultivate Wisdom & Virtue

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