Albrecht Classen

Albrecht Classen,

University Distinguished Professor

of German Studies, UA

Wednesday, August 12, 2020,

2:30-3:30 p.m.,

a Zoom Webinar*

Note: The Arizona Senior Academy Building remains closed.

Fables: the earliest form of the short story, told from ancient times and diverse cultures to teach morality by entertaining the audience. Drawing from fables composed by the Swiss-German Ulrich Bonerius around 1350, Albrecht Classen will examine how this highly influential poet used plain language to address the evils of his contemporary world in stories relevant to our world.  Returning to ASA for a third presentation, Classen will show how Bonerius deals with fundamental and abiding issues of ethics, morality, virtues, friendship (or lack thereof) and honor in tales that “tell it as it is, hitting hard and without hesitation, aiming at the evil ones . . . As these fables indicate, we can (must?) draw from past literary sources in order to clean up our house and move forward as a society.”

Illustration for a fable in the Heidelberg ms. (16th century)

A native of Northern Hesse, Germany, Classen received his Ph.D. Degree from the University of Virginia in 1986. At the University of Arizona he frequently teaches classes of more than 100 students, lecturing on German and European literature and culture from 800 to1650. In summer, students accompany him to Europe to experience directly the monuments and artifacts of these cultures. This fall he will be teaching an online Humanities Seminar that is open to the public:

Classen has published nearly 100 scholarly books, including Magic and Magicians in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age (2017), and nine volumes of poetry. Among his awards are the prestigious Order of Merit from the German government (2004), Henry Koffler Research Award (2008), and the Carnegie Foundation Teaching Professor of the Year (2012). In October of 2017, Classen was made Grand Knight Commander of the Most Noble Order of the Three Lions, a dynastic order of chivalry formed by the Duke of Swabia, the head of the House of Bourgogne von Hohenstaufen, to honor outstanding acts of service or expertise in areas that are of benefit to humanity.

Written by Suzanne Ferguson and Maria Dobozy, Academy Village Volunteers

*For access to the Zoom Webinar, please write  

Aug. 12: “Wisdom from the Past as Wisdom for Our Future: Medieval Fable Literature as a Key to Enlightenment”