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'Cultural Decadence' is next in lecture series

'Cultural Decadence' is next in lecture series

Synesthesia, quasi-Freudian plays will be explored in third session of Romantic Empire course

is a weekday morning announcer for KUAT-FM radio and leader of the series.

The Arizona Senior Academy, at Academy Village, is in the midst of offering a four-session course on "The Decline and Fall of the Romantic Empire: Cultural Decadence in Paris and Vienna."

The course is being taught by James Reel, weekday morning announcer for KUAT-FM radio.

The third session will run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the great room of the academy.

Reed will emphasize the literature of Vienna and Paris at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

He will begin the session with a discussion of the synesthesia novel "Against the Grain," by French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans. This style of novel takes its name from the medical term synesthesia, a neurological condition where the patient mixes sensual experiences by, for example, seeing a number or letter as a color.

Reel will clarify how this medical condition applies to fiction writing. Its use appears with increasing frequency on TV. For example, a character from "30 Rock" says, "They gave me some drugs. Now my mouth tastes like purple." And a character in "House" said, "I started to hear through the eyes."

Reel will also discuss selected quasi-Freudian plays such as the notorious "La Ronde" and the stream-of-consciousness novella "Lieutenant Gustl." Both are particularly appropriate examples of what Reel has subtitled his course, "Cultural Decadence in Paris and Vienna" as the Romantic period came to an end.

The final session of the course, on Aug. 29, considers the music of the period.

Academy Village is an active-adult community off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Concerts and lectures are free and open to the public. The Academy Cafe, in the community center across the plaza from the academy building, is open weekdays for lunch before the class.

Because of the popularity of educational and cultural events at the academy and with its limited seating, visitors are advised to make advance reservations.

If you go

• What: "The Decline and Fall of the Romantic Empire: Cultural Decadence in Paris and Vienna," the third of a four-part series of lectures by James Reel

• When: 2:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday

• Where: Arizona Senior Academy Building at Academy Village, 13715 E. Langtry Lane

• Admission: Free; donations accepted

• Reservations: Recommended; email or call 647-0980

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