The Splendor of Imagination: Returning from Exile
June 11-15, 2017

This past June, Wyoming Catholic College faculty led a week-long seminar using film, poetry, philosophy, theology, and music to explore how artists have used their crafts to awaken the bittersweet image of being in exile and to create the desire for a more permanent home.

Throughout the Western tradition—from classical philosophers to biblical patriarchs, from the medieval period to modernity—great authors from Plato to C.S. Lewis have reflected on the state of exile as a way to describe man’s earthly journey.

Moses, exiled from the Egypt of his oppression, looks over into the long-imagined land of milk and honey that he will never enter; Dante and Boethius spend their last years aching for a home they will never see again; and Shakespeare’s Prospero, with his dramatic power over the imagination, uses his magic as an art of return from exile.

What Participants Said

  • “I love the study of literature and film and believe they are beautiful and powerful ways to deepen my relationship with God and the Church.”
  • “I loved [the film] ‘The Lives of Others’ and the discussion afterwards. Perhaps the level of comfort we had all developed with each other and the shared readings we’d already discussed made that an especially meaningful experience.”
  • “Some of the readings were quite intense! Nonetheless, wonderful food for thought.”
  • “It was all a bit surprising and grand.”
  • “[The school was a way] to give my brain an oil change and renew my academic tendencies.”
  • A favorite memory: “Dinner/drink conversations about the day’s events in a relaxed setting.”


  • John Milton, Paradise Lost: The Temptation of Eve and the Fall
  • The Old Testament: selections from Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”
  • Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana: The Lives of William Bradford and John Winthop
  • Plato, The Symposium: The Ladder of Love
  • Plato, The Republic: The Allegory of the Cave (Book 7)
  • Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, Dante’s Arrival in the Earthly Paradise (Canti 26-33)
  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World, Chapters 4-5.

Listen to the Lectures

You can listen to the lectures delivered at the 2017 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought along with fifteen-minute interviews with each lecturer through our podcast, “The After Dinner Scholar.” You can listen online at the college website or using Podbean or iTunes.