Immediately after graduating from St. John’s College, I began a re-read of all the seminar works (according to a list I scribbled down in 2005, so not necessarily the exact works I read, or the works they are reading now, but close). I just finished reading the Freshman year yesterday. Here are a few reflections:
People commonly say at SJC that you are either a Plato or Aristotle person and I tended to think of myself as the latter, but this time through I engaged better with Plato (most of the time.)
The two books that took the longest were the first volume of Plutarch’s Lives and Aristotle’s Metaphysics. I decided to read the entire book rather than trying to do the excerpts we used in seminar, so Plutarch was much longer. In both cases if I had stuck to my plan of reading a little each day they wouldn’t have taken as long. I would occasionally get frustrated in how much was left and leave off reading for months at a time.
I really warmed up to the dramatic works, which is making me excited to read Shakespeare in the near future, I’ve never quite resonated with him as much as others seem to. My decision to try to read the entire work is making me a little nervous about finishing Sophomore year since it ends with the Summa Theologiœ.
Another reason I took a while longer to read through was I did quite a bit of other reading interleaved with the seminar works. I really enjoy when some other book interacts with a seminar book in a cool new way. Aristotle and C.S. Lewis have a habit of dialoging when I read them.