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Jay

Albuquerque, NM, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
2
REVIEWS
2
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HELPFUL VOTES
14

  • The Modern Scholar: The Art of Reading

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Professor Joseph Luzzi
    • Narrated By Professor Joseph Luzzi
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Esteemed professor Joseph Luzzi addresses the place of classic literature in the modern world with this riveting series of lectures. Advocating “the art of reading” as a way to answer essential questions of day-to-day life, Luzzi delves into the works of such literary titans as Plato, Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf. By doing so, he tackles such age-old questions as “How do we fall in love?” and “How do we confront evil?”

    Jay says: "Not bad, but a misleading title"
    "Not bad, but a misleading title"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not going to finish reading this, at least not until i finish many of the other things on my list, because i feel the title is misleading. I've listened to about half of it in full, and i've skimmed through the rest of it, enough to be confident in what i write here.

    Luzzi's audio course claims to be about the art of reading, but in the very first lecture, he admits that one of his primary aims is to expose readers to his favorite works, and, he hopes, inspire them to read them themselves. There is nothing essentially wrong or dishonest about that in itself - practically every book or audio course i've read or listened to has the same aim, to a greater or lesser degree. Where the misleading nature comes in is that, in this case, Luzzi's aim is an Italian Nationalist aim, in that just about every example he uses to illustrate his points come from Italian authors. Even Italian cinema seems to come up more often than all non-Italian authors combined. (Excepting Homer and Virgil)

    Dante seems to come up numerous times in every single lecture, and there have been no less than three references to Vittorio Alfieri, an author that Luzzi admits that few of his listeners outside of Italy will even have heard of. In fact, I think a more appropriate title for this course, to this point, would be "The impact of Dante on later Italian literature" - very few substantive changes would need to be included in order to make this title change.

    Had that been the title, my rating would have been higher - Luzzi has a good voice for reading these books, and his knowledge of the subject matter is clearly top notch. Then again, had that been the title, i likely wouldn't have purchased this book in the first place.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: People and the Ballot: A History of American Party Politics

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Joshua Kaplan
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    While political parties have taken the country to the brink of violence and beyond, they have also been vehicles for avoiding violent conflict and for channeling disagreements. This course provides an understanding of how American politics works and can help make sense of election results and political trends. By understanding political parties, we can better understand what is going on in American politics today and in which direction American politics may be going.

    Alan says: "This course gets my vote"
    "Good course, but desperately needs an update"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Kaplan is a very good lecturer, and very good at explaining his subject.

    however, note that the course came out in 2007. At many points throughout the lectures, his narrative is dying for a mention of Obama's elections in 2008 and 2012 (like where he is talking about how difficult it is for a democrat to win states in the South), or the 2010 Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, which has overruled some of his points about the influence of contributions on party politics.

    If this were truly a "history" like the title claims, one or two lectures at the end would likely be sufficient to update it, but this is more a political science course on the influence of parties on politics than it is a history, and spends at least as much time talking about "the present" (in 2007, that is) as it does talking about history.

    If Professor Kaplan re-recorded this, taking modern developments into account, it could easily get a five star rating from me. As it is, a three-star rating is the best I can give it, and I can only give it a qualified recommendation, with the qualification that you'll need to supplement the knowledge you get here with some more-up-to-date resources.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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