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Testimonials“Julia Denne is an incredible literature instructor. In 2005, I walked into her classroom and never left. It has been five fulfilling years of studying Russian literature; I’m looking forward to five more years. Julia starts class on time, and it ends on time; never is it wasted. We are given many handouts that relate to the novel being read. They add to learning about the cultural and historical background of the novel and the time period of the author. Also, weekly there are handouts which are ‘materials given for discussion.’ Julia frequently compares translations of the book that we are reading. She brings in books and DVDs that have illustrations and sketches of both characters and the authors. Frequently, we watch selected scenes from movies made of the novels. After the lecture, Julia opens the class for discussion. Everyone is given a chance to join in if he/she wants to. The discussions offer many opinions of characters, plots, and themes, and she always says that is one way to look at them.

Julia’s classroom management and organization is superb. She deals with teenagers to septuagenarians – and meets all of our literary needs. There is only one Julia. When the new Newberry seminars’ booklet comes out, we rush to register for her class because we know how quickly it fills up. She still makes teaching an art – and that’s rare in today’s world of technology.” — Richard Forrest“Julia Denne is an extraordinary teacher. She is not only well versed in literature, but enhances the readings with history, geography, the culture of the time, and insight into the author and the context of his writings. The seminars are enlivened with visual arts, such as movie clips, photographs, maps, and paintings, as well as discussions about the class assignments.

As a retired teacher, I am impressed with Mrs. Denne’s classroom management skills. During the discussion part of the seminar, every opinion and every individual is respected. You can join the discussion or just listen and still be part of the experience. Sometimes, a question will arise that needs further investigation. You can be sure that Mrs. Denne will provide an explanation supported by her research at the next class session.

I have taken every seminar that Julia Denne has taught at Newberry Library in Chicago, and through these classes the authors’ words have developed deeper meaning, thus enabling me to have a better understanding of the writings.

If you enjoy reading and literature, Julia Denne’s seminars should not be missed.”
— Millicent Van Dorf Drower“I’ve had the pleasure of taking both the Russian Literature and Life Readers classes, and I can easily say that they have provided some of the most enjoyable and absorbing reading experiences I had ever had. Ms. Denne is an inexhaustible source of knowledge, a wonderful discussion leader, and obviously a passionate reader herself. Her selections are superb; I have come to read some of my very favorite books through these courses. The background she provides on the authors, as well as the reception and criticism of the works themselves, are always interesting and quite often illuminating. I would recommend her classes to anyone.”
— Ava Lindstrom, Stanford University Student“I had always wanted to read War and Peace, felt it would be a lifelong regret if I didn’t, but without any background I was having trouble piercing the surface of the text. Fortunately for me, I met Julia Denne. What a knowledgeable, generous, sure-handed, and inspiring guide! Julia is not only a native speaker of Russian and a literary scholar, she is adept at initiating the American student into the world of Russian culture and history as well as the great works of Russian literature.

I will always be grateful to Julia for pointing out nuances of understanding – first in Tolstoy, and later in Turgenev, Pushkin, and other writers – that would otherwise have escaped my understanding. Now I look forward to having my daughter experience the same pleasure of studying master works with a master teacher.”
— Leslie Schultz, Northfield, MN“My first exposure to any sort of Russian culture was a class with Julia on Russian short fiction. I loved the literature we read, and was inspired to learn the language. All of the language lessons are very in depth, and Julia combines her literary knowledge with her knowledge of the Russian language. As part of learning Russian, I have read lots of Russian poetry and stories. Learning Russian has opened many doors for me and made a profound impact on my life. This summer I will be traveling to Russia on a scholarship to further advance the solid foundation Julia has given me in both Russian language and culture, and I greatly look forward to continue studying Russian with her in the future.”
— Nina W.