History, culture & writing

Explore History, Culture & Writing

Explore our extraordinary range of History, Culture and Writing courses and lectures. We offer both introductory and specialist in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, from ‘How to read a film’ and World literature, to Creative non-fiction writing courses and American history and Politics courses.

Study in-person at City Lit or offsite, or online from the comfort of home, with interactive classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long. For more information on our online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many have published, teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion through presentations, readings, interactive discussion and exercises, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit Learning community.

Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.

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  1. Olympias: Feminine Power in Ancient Macedon
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Daniel Unruh
    The Macedonian queen Olympias was a famous figure in the ancient world. First and foremost, she was remembered as the wife of King Philip II of Macedon, conqueror of southern Greece, and the mother of King Alexander III of Macedon, known to history as Alexander the Great. But Olympias' identity goes far beyond wife and mother. The stories that have come down to us show her as a brilliant politician, a follower of strange religious rites, and even a general leading armies in the field. Some even represent her as the lover of a god!



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  2. Origins of the Goddess in Ancient India
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vaughan Pilikian
    The Goddess is a figure of great mystery in premodern India. Mostly absent in the ancient period, she arises seemingly from nowhere to become Sakti, a dangerous and powerful divinity of central importance in medieval Saivism. How might we begin to explain her origins? It seems that there may be evidence for a goddess cult in the material traces of the Indus Valley civilisation that predates the establishment of Vedic society. Might the Goddess be part of a Dravidian tradition of very great antiquity that somehow infiltrated the Indo-European? Or is her absence from our earliest textual sources overstated? Is it not the Goddess who appears as Night in the middle of the Mahabharata when the Kaurava warrior Asvatthaman is about to slaughter his enemies in their sleep? And might the obscure and troubling ritual of the Asvamedha shed some light on the sacred significance of female agency in the maintenance of Vedic sovereignty? This lecture will seek to address some of these challenging but fascinating questions.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  3. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Wise
    We will explore various themes related to insanity and altered states of consciousness by examining a number of 19th-century works of fiction. Novelists and poets often had the greatest insights into the workings of the mind, and many Victorian psychiatrists cited works of fiction in their case studies. Among the authors we will cover are Charlotte Bronte, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Gogol, Herman Melville and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £30.00

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