This year's Penn Reading Project featured Hemingway's memoirs of his days in Paris as a struggling writer. Incoming students read the book over the summer and discussed it in small groups with a faculty leader before classes began.
"A Moveable Feast was chosen as this year's text because of the remarkable similarities between young people beginning their college careers - especially at Penn - and the experiences of the book's characters," explained Dr. Christopher Dennis, director of academic programs in residence. "For new students, Philadelphia is their very own Paris, their own 'moveable feast.' As Hemingway did in the book, new students will be exploring this exciting, rich city, as well as themselves. They will also meet new people and be introduced to brand new ideas and practices. They will mature and share their experiences with others doing the same thing."
The Penn Reading Project was established in 1991 to make a common intellectual experience a part of the New Student Orientation Program. "It is hoped that this experience will introduce students, early in their Penn careers, to the academic life of the University, that it will bring them together with faculty sooner than is usual, and that it will provide an intellectual opportunity that can be shared across the entire first-year class," said Dennis.
SAS wanted alumni to be able to partake of the Feast as well and offered a lecture by History of Art Professor David Brownlee on "Philadelphia's Moveable Feast" during Homecoming Weekend. Brownlee discussed the way that a distinctive urban environment, in Philadelphia as in Paris, reflects the ideals and shapes the experiences of its inhabitants.Other Reading Project-related events on campus included the Writers House Moveable Feast. Students, staff, and faculty from the Writers House - a nonresidential college house in which creative writing activities are organized, promoted, and shared - read from works by authors featured in the book, and ended with a small catered feast of their own.