So Eva was a terrific guest and a great sport on the podcast and while Dylan had talked her up to the rest of us, I didn’t realize what a towering figure she is. She has been teaching at St. John’s for 57 !?!?! years, which is longer than most of us have been on this planet. She’s the author of 15 books, not including translations, on subjects as diverse as Time, Plato and Abraham Lincoln. And of course Heraclitus.
We had the good fortune to talk philosophy with her and also to chat a bit before recording. She’s got a fantastic sense of humor and a lively spirit that shape her sharp and occasionally irreverent observations. To get more of a flavor of her personality and enjoy her observations about St. John’s, Homer, Plato, education and other subjects, check out the following interviews.
First, check out this video from BookTV on CSPAN2 from 2009. [sorry, embedding disabled] From the description:
Book TV visited with author and teacher Eva Brann at her home in Annapolis, Maryland, to talk about her life and work. Ms. Brann, who has been a tutor at St. John’s College since 1957, discussed her interest in the classics and talked about some of the philosophers her students read.
Next, check out this interview from Virtual Memories, which I guess is a kind of oral history website put together by Gil Roth. He’s got some kind of connection to Eva and St. John’s. As he describes it:
Your humble(ish) host just made his annual Piraeus pilgrimage to St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, this time to participate in a four-day seminar about Moby Dick . . . and score a great interview! I managed to get legendary tutor Eva Brann (above) to take a break from her crazy schedule and sit down for a 45-minute conversation about the college’s Great Books program and how she’s seen it change (and stay the same) in her FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS at the school. We also talk about the value of a liberal arts education, the one novel she’d add to the St. John’s curriculum, the need professors have to profess (and why St. John’s has tutors instead of professors), her swoon for Odysseus, her desert island book, her one criterion for a great novel, where she sees the school going in the next fifty-seven years, the Dostoevsky-or-Tolstoy debate, and more, including a boatload of questions I solicited from alumni! It’s a fascinating conversation with one of the most learned people in the world.
Ask Dylan what “Piraeus” means.
Finally, check out this interview conducted by Paul Dry, the publisher of numerous of Eva’s books. We have arranged a special promotion with Paul that of which you can take advantage as a PEL reader/listener: buy any 2 Paul Dry books and get 20% and free (US) or discounted (International) shipping. Go to pauldrybooks.com and when checking out, use the coupon code “PEL”.