Introducing ‘Islanders Read the Classics’

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined,” Toni Morrison wrote in her Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Beloved. The Martha’s Vineyard Times and The Martha’s Vineyard Library Association invite you to embrace Ms. Morrison’s words and attend a presentation on a classic literary work each month. On Thursday, March 3, Philip Weinstein will launch Islanders Read the Classics (IRTC) with a talk about Beloved. Mr Weinstein is the Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor of English Emeritus at Swarthmore College and an author, most recently of Jonathan Franzen: The Comedy of Rage. During the past few years, he has delighted Vineyard readers with seminars on William Faulkner, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. In selecting Beloved to launch this series, Mr. Weinstein says, “It is the novel that takes on most imaginatively and movingly — as probably only a black writer could — the curse of American slavery: its origins in the Middle Passage, its traumatic damage in the mid-19th century, its fallout later on.”

Islanders Read the Classics will host monthly speakers who have taught and have a passion for a specific literary work to give a talk on a book of their choosing. Each month, the program will be held at a different Vineyard library. These classes on the classics are free and open to the public. You are not required to read, or reread if the case may be, the month’s selection ahead of time if you want to attend, but for those who are interested in reading the month’s selection, books can be ordered from any of the Island libraries.

The Vineyard Haven Library will host the first Islanders Read the Classics on Thursday, March 3, at 7 pm at the The Katharine Cornell Theater. IRTC is sponsored by The Martha’s Vineyard Times, Islanders Write, and the Martha’s Vineyard Library Association. For more information, email


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