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Essays & Essayists
2013 - 2023

Steve Ackerman

September 13, 2021: “Wisconsin’s Changing Climate

Respondent: Jon Martin

Sandra Adell

September 11, 2023: “And Then The Casinos Came:  Casino Gambling, Black Women and Addiction”

no respondent

R. Bruce Allison  

May 8, 2023: “The Role of Trees in Wisconsin’s Historical and Current Climate And Ecology, And Their Anticipated Future Role.”

no respondent

Tian G. Andresen

April 11, 2022:  “Hot Times in Cold Places: Changing Arctic Processes”

no respondent

Emily Auerbach

March 11, 2013: “Pride, Prejudice, and Proliferation: A 200th Birthday”

Respondent: Joseph Wiesenfarth

William Aylward

December 14, 2015: “Discovering Troy”

Respondent: Barry Powell

Mary Helen Becker

October 13, 2014: “Gregory of Tours: Sixth-Century Bishop, Historian, and Saint”

Respondent: Jim Ebben

Harvey Black

December 9, 2019: “Science Reporting: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—More or Less”

Respondent:  Steve Paulson

Thomas Broman and Erika Janik

February 13, 2017: “How Does ‘Public History’ Reach its Public? The Case of Wisconsin 101”

no respondent

Daniel Bromley

November 13, 2017: “Why Aldo Leopold Has Failed: Rescuing Environmentalism from Moral Obligations”

no respondent

Joyce Bromley 

March 14, 2016: “Barriers to German Reunification”

Respondent: Sabine Gross

Joshua Calhoun

December 14, 2016: “Shakespeare’s First Folio”

Respondent: no commentator

Donna Carnes and Pauline Boss

September 12, 2016: “The Myth of Closure”

Respondent: no commentator

Robin Chapman

February 8, 2021: “Occupation Poet: Where Do Poems Come From?

Respondent: Rita Mae Reese

Roseanne Clark

December 12, 2022:  “Mental Health and Early Relationships:  A New Public Health Agenda”

no respondent

Charles Cohen

May 11, 2015: “A Nice Jewish Boy Redacts a Translation of the Qur’an”

no respondent

Jane Collins

December 10, 2018: “The Politics of Value”

Respondent: Michael Bell

Kate Corby

October 9, 2017: “From Idea to Embodiment: An Open Rehearsal and Peek into Contemporary Choreographic Processes”

no respondent

Katherine Cramer

September 11, 2017: “The Politics of Resentment in the Contemporary United States”

no respondent

David Daniel 

February 8, 2016: “An Interactive Evening of Poetry”

Respondent: Emily Auerbach and Donna Carnes

Samuel Dennis

February 12, 2018: “Landscape Design as Social and Cultural History: A Long View”

Respondent: Ann Smart Martin

Brenda DeVita

April 12, 2021: “The Play’s the Thing: Planning a Successful Season at American Players Theatre

no respondent

Robert Dott, Jr.

April 13, 2015: “Roadside Geology of Wisconsin”

Respondent: David Mickelson

Jordan Ellenberg

May 9, 2016: “How Not to be Wrong: Why Math is Important”

no respondent

Jo Estep

March 11, 2019: “Behind the Panels: An Examination of the Creation of Comics/Graphic Novels”

Respondent:  Amber Cohen

Nicole Fenske (substitute for Patrice Streicher)

September 17, 2018: “Functional Medicine”

Respondent: Jennifer Gurske

Jean Feraca

May 13, 2013: “Teaching Plato’s Allegory of the Cave”

Respondent: UW Odyssey Project Students

Charles Franklin

October 10, 2022:  “2022 Mid-term Elections”

Respondent: Michael Wagner

November 10, 2014: “Understanding the Wisconsin Electorate of 2014”

Respondent: Jessie Opoien

Ann Frautschi

October 7, 2013: “Colonial Cooking”

Respondent: Orange Schroeder

Margaret George

February 11, 2019: “Fiddling Around with Nero, or, Fake News from Rome”

Respondent:  William Aylward

November 9, 2015: “The Emperor Nero”

Respondent: Norman Gilliland

Norman Gilliland

May 11, 2020: “What Has Radio Done for Music?”

Respondent: Trevor Stephenson

May 12, 2014: “Go Ahead and Write Your Novel—I Dare You”

Respondent: Margaret George

Amy Gilman

February 13, 2023:  “The Era of the Visionary Museum Director Is Over … or It Should Be”

no respondent 

Thomas J. Givnish

September 12, 2022:  “Assembly of Wisconsin Plant Communities at Regional to Local Sales”

no respondent

Robert Graebner

April 9, 2018: “Walter Graebner: Time-Life London Bureau Chief and His Relationship with Winston Churchill”

Respondent: Gen. Lewis B. Harned

December 8, 2014: “The Northwest Passage: An Historical, Cartographical, and Climatological Tour”

Respondent: Andrew Winters

John Hall

September 14, 2015: “Americans’ Colonialism”

Respondent: Cary Miller

Lee Hansen

February 11, 2013: “Diversity at the UW: An Assessment”

Respondent: Phil Certain

Kevin Henkes

November 13, 2023:  “The Recent History And Current Golden Age Of Children’s Literature”

no respondent

Ronnie Hess

March 9, 2020: “Duck Soup, Or the Fine Art and Science of Culinary/Food Writing”

Respondent: Grazia Menechella

Jack Holzhueter

May 13, 2019: “Aslak Lie: A Final Report on a Fifty-Year Obsession”

Respondent: Peter Thurlow

Tom Howe

September 9, 2019: “Waste, Salvation, and Melancholia: Unexpected Legacies of the American Civil War”

Respondent: Matt Blessing


Len Kaplan

October 14, 2019: “Job: A Folksy Tale That Continues to Bite”

with Rob Czierwin, Andy Gricevich, and Jeffrey Rothstein

Kyle Knox

November 14, 2022:  “Why Music Matters”

no respondent

Moira Krueger

September 9, 2013: “Recalls: Historical and Personal Perspectives”

Respondent: Kevin Kennedy

Jim Lattis

May 10, 2021: “140 Years on the Frontiers: Washburn Observatory and the

Wisconsin Roots of Modern Astrophysics

no respondent

Margaret Lewis

December 8, 2013: “Are There Enough Women in Politics?”

no respondent

Monica Macaulay

April 11, 2016: “Native Language Revitalization in Wisconsin”

no respondent

Ron McCrea

March 12, 2018: “Frank Lloyd Wright and the Contributions of Women”

Respondent: Anna Andrezjewski

April 8, 2013: “Discovering the Hidden Taliesen”

Respondent: Bill Tischler

Jim McKeown

February 10, 2020: “Ancient Medical Curiosities:  Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Health Arts of Greece and Rome”

Respondent: Hanna Golab

Gene Miller

September 8, 2014: “Divine Kingship in Ancient Egypt: Art and Writing as the Propaganda of Pharaohs”

Respondent: Emily Auerbach

Leonora Neville and Sarah Thal

April 3, 2017: “Songs from the Road not Taken: Amateur Reflections on Coloratura”

no respondent

John Nichols

November 12, 2018: “Election Wrap-Up, Analysis and Implications”

Respondent: Laura Dresser

T. Michael Nork

March 14, 2022:  “Color My World: What Color Vision Teaches Us About Genetics, Eye Disease and Evolution”

Respondent: Dr. James N. Ver Hoeve, PhD

Kirill Osopovat

April 10, 2023:  “The history of Russian popular attitudes toward authoritarianism and how those attitudes are reflected in 19th and 20th century Russian literature.”

no respondent

Martha Greene Phillips

May 14, 2018: “Border Country”

Respondent: Stanley Temple

Joseph (Jay) Ranney

March 13, 2023: “Bridging Revolutions:  A Southern Judge Who Took On Slavery, the Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan”

Respondent: Prof. John Hall

April 8, 2019: “A New Birth of Freedom?’ Wisconsin and the Age of Expressive Individualism”

Respondent: Dean Strang

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

July 13, 2020 (rescheduled from April 13): “The Ideas that Made America: A Brief History”

Respondent: Charles Cohen

Rita Mae Reese

May 9, 2022:  “Poetry as Vaccine”

Respondent: Jodi Vander Molen

Sue Riseling

November 11, 2019, “The Challenge of Protecting the University”

Respondent: Kristen Roman

Veronica Rueckert

September 14, 2020: “Outspoken:  Why Women’s Voices Get Silenced and How to Set Them Free”

Respondent: Mary Lang Sollinger

John Schaffer

October 8, 2018: “So, What Exactly IS Jazz Anyway?”

Respondent: Johannes Wallman

March 9, 2015: “The String Quartets of Bela Bartok”

Respondent: Matt D’Anbrosio

Sarah Schaffer

October 10, 2016: “From Poem to Song: How Variant Musical Settings Offer Interpretive Insights”

Respondent: Robin Chapman

April 14, 2014: “Commissioning New Music: From Concept to Premiere”

Respondent: Sally Chisholm

Michael Schuler

November 9, 2020: “Whither Humanism? A Brief Survey of its Religious and Cultural Despisers”

Respondent: Michael May

November 11, 2013: “In the Absence of Authority”

Respondent: Michael May

Nick Schweitzer

November 8, 2021: “The Last Freie Gemeinde?”

no respondent

March 10, 2014: “Evolution in the Courts”

no respondent

Dan Shea

October 12, 2020: “Thoughts on Opera in Madison Since the 1960s”

Respondent: Karlos Moser

Janice Sheppard

March 8, 2021: “My Time in Prison: The Spiritual Path into and Out of Prison

no respondent

Cherene Sherrard-Johnson

December 14, 2020: “Mapping Blackness: An Intimate

Respondent: Dr. Ethelene Whitmire

Charles Snowden

October 12, 2015: “How Human Fatherhood is Informed by Non-Human Primates”

Respondent: Lauren Papp

Scott Spoolman

October 11, 2021: “Wisconsin's Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History”

no respondent

Clint Sprott

December 13, 2021: “Self-organization: Nature's Intelligent Design”

no respondent

Trevor Stephenson

December 11, 2017: “Chopin and Debussy on a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Viennese Piano: Trevor Stephenson Discusses the Sound World of an 1855 Bösendorfer Grand”

Respondent: Norman Sheppard

February 16, 2015: “From Quills to Hammers: The Evolution of the Piano”

Respondent: Norman Sheppard

Dean Strang

October 9, 2023:  “Why Injustice Trumps Justice—and Why Understanding That Matters”
no respondent

Olga and Vadimir Trubetskoy

March 13, 2017: “Mikhail Tsvet and His Discovery of Chromatography, a ‘process that separates molecules but unites people’”

no respondent

Andrée Valley

February 14, 2022:  “The Venice Biennale Before and During the Pandemic: An Exhibitor’s Perspective “
Respondent: Paula Panczenko

John Valley

February 10, 2014: “Zircons from Hell?”

Respondent: Robert Dott, Jr.

Michael Wagner

November 14, 2016: “Wrap-up Analysis of the 2016 Elections”

no respondent

Craig Werner and Doug Bradley

May 8, 2017: “‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War”

no respondent

James Zellmer

March 12, 2012: “15 Seconds – SIS vs. the Legacy Media”

Respondent: Richard Askey

Note: Complete lists of essays and essayists and entertainers of the Club, as well as of members and officers from 1877 to 1977, will be found in The Semi-Centennial Book of the Madison Literary Club, 1877-1927, and in The Centennial Book of the Madison Literary Club, 1977. Essays are held by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

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