Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT’s June Great Books Series to Feature Classic James Baldwin Tale

Amos Magliocco of the University of North Texas will lead WT’s Great Books Series discussion of James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” on June 13. Magliocco is seen here in Paris, where Baldwin lived for many years.

CANYON, Texas — Family, faith, racial divides and the power of music are in the spotlight in the next installment of West Texas A&M University’s Great Books Series.

Amos Magliocco, principal lecturer in English at the University of North Texas in Denton, will lead the discussion of James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” at 7 p.m. June 13 via Zoom.

The discussion series — sponsored by the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities —is open to those who either have or haven’t read the book, said Dr. Daniel Bloom, Great Books organizer and associate professor of philosophy.

“Sonny’s Blues” was originally published in 1957, then later appeared in Baldwin’s 1965 short-story collection, “Going to Meet the Man.”

Magliocco said he chose the tale “because the story always seems to reflect some subtle truth in whatever moment the reader finds it, no matter how often you’ve read it.”

“On the surface, it’s about two brothers learning to communicate again after suffering separate traumas, but it also examines the profound, expressive power of a music that transcends language, and the bulwarks of faith and family and duty,” Magliocco said. “In 1950s Harlem, we walk alongside a Black community whose children grow up to discover the racial barriers surrounding them.

“I hope readers take from ‘Sonny’s Blues’ a renewed appreciation for how stories invite us to unfamiliar times and places to evoke universal human experiences,” Magliocco continued. “And the story’s dramatic epiphany portrays jazz music as a kind of journey readers might not have contemplated before.”

WT professors and guest lecturers lead the monthly Great Books discussions.

The series began in 2011 and is traditionally held on the second Tuesday of the month.

To register for the June discussion, email Bloom at [email protected].

The series is one way in which WT serves the region by offering engagement with a variety of literary and philosophical texts. Being a learner-centered university is a key principle of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.

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