| Life-Changing Works: Respondents
Faculty Survey Choose the Classics
WHEN NOVELIST G.K. Chesterton was asked which book he would
want to have
with him if stranded on a desert island,
he replied, “Why, A Practical Guide to
Shipbuilding, of course.”
By now, the anecdote is a familiar one.
Like Chesterton’s interviewer, Professor of European Studies Michael Macdonald
wants to know the answer to that question, but with a little different twist.
For the third time in
20 years, he and a
team asked Seattle
to list works that
have had a lasting
impact on their
lives. The twist is
that “works” referred
not only to books but also to music,
film and visual art.
European and American classics
tended to top the charts in the 2002 survey,
as they did in 1983 and 1995. In the visual art category, the top two faculty
picks were sculptures by Michelangelo:
“Pietà” and “David.” The cathedrals of Europe came in third as a group listing.
The top three pieces of life-changing music
were Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” Handel’s “Messiah” and Mozart’s “Requiem.”
works of literature, respondents were asked to list books other than the Bible.
Topping the list were The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and two works
by C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity. Other authors
on the list included J.R.R. Tolkien,
Dante Alighieri and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
“I think the works that come to the
need to be looked at carefully,” says Macdonald. “Right now I’m reading Moby
which I ’ve never read before.” Herman
Melville’s 19th-century novel was listed in
the faculty’s top 15 works of literature.
Films mentioned most frequently in
the survey were “Chariots of Fire,” directed by Hugh Hudson, “Amadeus,” directed
by Milos Forman, and “The Mission,” directed by Roland Joffe.
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