Bjorklunden goes international

Deborah Nixon

Bj”rklunden seminars are no longer confined to the comfy lodge in Door County, Wis. From April 12-23, Professor Emeritus of Classics Dan Taylor, along with his wife Donna, are once again leading a 12-day seminar in Italy. First offered last September, the seminar focuses on Florence and Rome. They will spend five days in each city.Professor Taylor is extremely familiar with these two cities, having lived in Florence for a total of three years as a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships. During these yearlong stints, he worked in the Medicean-Laurentian Library, the Biblioteca Nazionale, and as director of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Florence Programs.

During these years, the Taylors visited Rome frequently. They also took two weeklong trips to Rome when he held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Linguistics at the Universita di Trieste in 2002.

Taylor said that he chose these two cities because “my wife and I are most familiar with Florence and Rome, which are in any case the two most important cultural cities in Italy.”

During the trip, the Taylors will offer walking tours of both cities and have arranged tours of important sites, including Uffizi and Accademia Museums in Florence and the Orvieto, Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums in Rome.

Participants will also have full day tours of Tuscany, Pompeii and the Naples Museum. Participants still have plenty of free time built into their schedule to explore some places of personal interest.

Taylor commented: “I think the main thing is for the Bj”rklundeners to appreciate both the quantity and quality of the artistic patrimony that the Italians have at their disposal. The quantity and quality of the art, sculpture, and architecture, not to mention the precious manuscripts in the libraries, are almost beyond our comprehension — beauty is everywhere.”

The first international seminar, entitled “Opera in Amsterdam and London,” took place in February 2006 with 25 participants. According to Bj”rklunden director Mark Breseman, the idea of an international seminar “originated in the summer of 2005 when a number of folks suggested we set up a trip to Europe to see Dale Duesing (Lawrence ’67) [perform] in an opera.”

Breseman then planned an eight-day trip to Amsterdam and London, offering a total of three opera performances, one with Duesing, and sightseeing opportunities in both cities. Breseman stated, “Due to the success of that trip, we decided to offer more.

Dan Taylor (Lawrence ’63) had always wanted to lead a trip to Italy.that trip was so popular we are offering it again in April.” Bj”rklunden hopes to continue their international seminars, planning one or two a year.
The next trip will be to Patagonia, located in the southern region in South America, in early 2009. Future trips could also include Ireland, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and China.

However, the focus is still on the upcoming trip to Italy. Breseman added, “There is still room if anyone’s parents want to go!