Basic Program Spring Study Retreat

Basic Program of Liberal Education

Spring Study Retreat

Spring Study Retreat

The Spring Study Retreat provides the Basic Program community the opportunity to take a weekend away to escape from the everyday and explore different facets of a Great Book, through lectures, presentations, and discussion groups. 

Register here for spring weekend

Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus | April 27–29, 2018 | The Abbey Resort, Fontana, Wisconsin

Since medieval times, the story of Faust, the scholar who barters his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power, has inspired numerous retellings. Originally a cautionary tale about the dangers of impiety, in the modern period the story is transformed into an allegory liberation from religious closemindedness—but never without cost. In Thomas Mann's 1947 novel, the Faust legend becomes a reflection of all the turmoil of Germany in the first half of the twentieth century—the protagonist, the brilliant composer Adrian Leverkühn (modeled on Arnold Schoenberg, with more than a bit of Nietzsche thrown in) barters his soul for the growth of his own musical genius, taking leave of traditional tonal structure and with it the moorings of traditional society.

We will explore Manns masterpiece through an immersive weekend including workshop sessions led by Basic Program instructors, a lecture by Prof. David Wellbery, LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies, Comparative Literature, Committee on Social Thought, and the College and a musical demonstration and commentary by John Gibbons, lecturer in music at the Graham School, CSO, Chicago Opera Theater and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Participants will also have free time to enjoy the resort.


Dr. Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn as Told by a Friend by Thomas Mann, Vintage ed., Trans. John E. Woods, ISBN: 978-037570116

Course Details

  • Course Code: 
BASC14003 | Section 18S1
  • Dates: April 27–29, 2018

  • Tuition: $275
  • Location: The Abbey Resort, Fontana, WI.
Tuition includes lectures, discussions, special presentations, coffee/ tea service, two catered meals.



Participants are responsible for their own accommodations and meals unless otherwise noted. Room reservations and payment must be made directly with The Abbey Resort (800.709.1323, then press #2). A limited number of rooms are available through April 6, 2018, at the Graham School's Spring Weekend Retreat group rate of $115 per night.


Registrations cancelled within 10 business days of start of event are subject to a $100 cancellation fee.


Click here to visit the Abbey Resort website.