Past Reading Groups

Irish Reading Group

Fall 2012

This reading group will read and discuss Mairtin O Cadhain’s 20th century Irish-language novel Cré na Cille, set in a graveyard and the squabbling characters are all dead. Ideal for majors in Irish Languages & Literature and doctoral students in English and the PhD in Literature. The primary focus is on developing advanced reading and comprehension skills and an appreciation of various literary styles.
Spring 2013
A continuation of the Cré na Cille reading group from Fall 2012. Participants should have completed four semesters of Irish including Advanced Readings in Irish. Ideal for majors in Irish Languages & Literature and doctoral students in English and the PhD in Literature.

Spring 2014

This is an advanced reading group that meets once a week to read Aisling Ghéar: Na Stíobhartaigh agus an tAos Léinn, 1603-1788 (An Clóchomhar, 1996), Ó Buachalla’s study of Irish political poetry in the period 1603-1788 and the first comprehensive analysis of Irish Jacobitism. Aimed at Majors in Irish Language & Literature and students returned for Summer Study in Ireland as well as doctoral students in History and the PhD in Literature, it is also open to faculty. The primary focus is on comprehending the text and developing our ability to read scholarly and academic discourse.

Modern Hebrew Reading Group

The main goal of this reading group is to increase the participants' proficiency in Modern Hebrew. As such, participants will read important articles and book chapters that pertain to the participants' research interests. A review of relevant grammatical forms will be given throughout the semester.

Latin Reading Group

Mensa Latina meets once a week for Latin conversation and reading practice. By practicing spoken Latin and discussing readings in Latin, we aim to increase reading speed and comprehension while also deepening our understanding of syntax and grammar and broadening our active vocabulary. Our Mensa is open to everyone interested in improving their Latin. We are a diverse group of classicists, medievalists, theologians, philosophers, and dilettantes. No previous experience speaking Latin is required or expected.

Byzantine Greek Reading Group

This group meets once each week to read Byzantine Greek texts, selected according to the interests of the group. We will meet from 4:00 to 5:00 on Friday afternoons. For more information contact Joshua Robinson (

Russian Reading Group

This course helps students improve their reading proficiency in Russian by developing strategies for efficiently deciphering sophisticated texts, reviewing grammar, and exploring the art of translating from Russian into English. The reading list consists of works and excerpts from the canon of Russian literature as well as some non-fiction.

Greek Reading Group

The Greek Reading Group sponsored by the Notre Dame Workshop in Ancient Philosophy meets Fridays 1:45-2:45 in 107 Malloy Hall. This semester we will be reading Aristotle's Metaphysics Book Theta

German Reading Group

This one-credit (pass/fail) course is designed to introduce students who have the equivalent of four-semesters or more of college German, that is, the equivalent of German 20202 or more, to an interesting work in German and to help them continue to develop their reading skills, knowledge of grammar, and pronunciation. The language of discussion is English. The topic this fall is Heinrich Heine’s witty and intellectually rich essay Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland (1834). An essay that helped to define what intellectual history is, the work introduces readers to interwoven currents in German history, religion, literature, and politics (the German censor excised fifteen passages from the original work). The essay explores the distinction of Germany by engaging early Germanic folk traditions; the divide between Catholicism and Protestantism inaugurated by Luther and the Reformation; philosophical movements, such as pantheism and idealism; philosophers from Spinoza to Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel; and prominent literary figures, such as Lessing and Goethe. The capacity to capture complex philosophical developments in such a lively and witty way is perhaps unique in the history of letters. Further, the essay offers a window onto Heine’s own worldview and style. Heine is one of Germany’s greatest poets and essayists and arguably its greatest wit, which is one reason why in some English-speaking countries Heine ranks behind only Goethe among Germany’s greatest writers.