Shutt's lectures find a wider audience on CD

For a gifted lecturer like Professor of Humane Studies Timothy B. Shutt, the opportunity to reach an audience beyond the classroom is "deeply gratifying." Which is why Shutt, who came to Kenyon in 1986 and quickly won a following for his engaging classroom style, was "flattered and delighted" when Recorded Books, a communications company in Fredericksburg, Maryland, approached him in 2000 about becoming the first professor to record a series of lectures in its Modern Scholars series. It didn't hurt that one of his former students, Jay (John) Alexander '91, was the one doing the asking.

Alexander, who serves as executive producer of the entire series, was instrumental in recommending Shutt to lead off the project. "We look for passionate teachers who bring the material to life," the former drama major explains. "Professor Shutt has an exuberance for his material that is captivating." The series, according to Alexander, has been "very successful" and now includes approximately sixty courses recorded by such academic luminaries as Harold Bloom and Joseph J. Ellis.

Shutt's offerings include Foundations of Western Civilization, The Epic in Literature, The Literature of C. S. Lewis, Wars that Made the Western World, Dante and the Divine Comedy, and Masterpieces of Medieval Literature. Each of the courses, consisting of a set of lectures that run about thirty-five minutes apiece, is a more condensed version of a course he actually teaches. "The Foundations course is basically the first half of the Integrated Program in Humane Studies course and the Dante course is the one I teach every year," he notes. Each course contains seven CDs, about eight hours of listening time.

Shutt has turned out to be a natural. He can record seven lectures in a day, working from notes. "I never read the text," he says. It takes him a little longer to prep and to write the booklets that accompany each packaged course. "I put a lot of effort into those books," he says proudly. "But to a certain extent, I'm prepping all the time."

All of the courses in the Recorded Scholar series can be ordered from