On June 27, alumni, family members, and students gathered in Manhattan to mull over love, hate, feminism, and immortality — themes within the New York Times bestseller Circe, by Madeline Miller. This literary conversation was the New York City stop on The Alumnae Book Tour with Professor Margaret Maurer, William Henry Crawshaw Professor of literature.

The novel is a retelling of classical Greek mythology, following the life of Circe, daughter of Helios, from her perspective. She encounters various well-known mythological figures such as Zeus, the Minotaur, Daedalus, and Odysseus — familiar characters for those who took Colgate’s Core 151: Legacies of the Ancient World.

Maurer moderated the discussion in an informal way, allowing the group to steer the conversation based on their interests.

“Colgate alumni just get smarter,” Maurer says. “I leave every discussion having thought something about the book that I hadn’t thought before.”

This Colgate-sponsored event takes place annually in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. It is intended to be an opportunity for Colgate women to gather for literary conversations around a different book each year. 

“It’s so lovely to connect with other Colgate women, especially at an event facilitated by one of my former professors,” says Jessica Benmen ’16, an English literature and religion major who now lives in New York. “These women have gone in different directions after graduating, and that shapes their opinions of the text and the conversations we have.”