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Students Studying Dan Brown Novel Talk with Bestselling Author

December 8, 2017


Author Dan Brown (on screen, right) and his editor, Jason Kaufman, join a first-year seminar on Brown’s newest book, Origin, via videoconference.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Bestselling author Dan Brown recently discussed his books with students in a first-year seminar, the Keys to Dan Brown’s Origin. Professor Tom Beyer, who teaches the course, had invited Brown and his editor, Jason Kaufman, to join the class via videoconference. During the hourlong conversation, subjects ranged from Robert Langdon, Brown’s main character, to the movies made from his thrillers. The class focused on the author’s latest novel, Origin, published in September 2017.

“Having Dan Brown discuss certain aspects of our topics with us was fascinating,” said Lauren, one of the students in the class. “He talked a lot about Langdon . . . and how he molded him into the character that we know today.

“He also showed us the actual watch Tom Hanks wears in the movies, the cryptex from The Da Vinci Code, as well as the container for the antimatter in Angels and Demons,” added Lauren. 

“It was incredible getting to talk with the man my senior thesis and an entire semester was based around,” said Jillian, another student. “We were able to . . . ask our own questions about his novels. Overall, the experience was really special and unforgettable.” 

Beyer, the C.V. Starr Professor of Russian and East European Studies and an ardent fan of Brown, has taught previous first-year seminars on Brown’s work.

According to Beyer, the class examined Brown’s novels and then annotated Origin, separating fact and fiction; made their own movie version of the novel; and prepared research papers on related topics. Their work can be viewed at