The idea for this series of courses is great. There's literature, history, philosophy. It's a veritable "great courses" series in 84 lectures. However, the individual lectures (and professors) are of mixed quality. Some are outstanding, interesting, well organized; others (e.g., Richeimer) are fairly painful to listen to.
Excellent discussion of the war. I listened to an audiocourse by another provider immediately before this lecture, and still managed to learn quite a bit from this course. Prof Ramsden presents the material in a very logical order, and is an excellent lecture. Highly recommended.
Prof Drout is both extremely knowledgeable and an excellent lecturer. His enthusiasm for the subject is contagious; it's also very good to hear an audio course where the professor is truly lecturing rather than reading notes or a teleprompter.
Half the course (7 of 14 lectures) is dedicated to Tolkien, but perhaps that's fitting given the way he dominates the literature of the fantastic. However, the other authors who are discussed (Brooks, Donaldson, LeGuin, Holdstock, Lewis) are given good coverage as well. And the discussion of broader topics (what is fantasy, origins of fantastic literature, children’s fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, magical realism) are very interesting and insightful as well.
Professor Drout is informative and entertaining. I have listened to a number of lecture series - both from Modern Scholar and other vendors. This one is the best one I've heard to date.
The overall course outline is very well thought out (although of course I might have done things slightly differently - e.g., less Lovecraft), the individual lectures are well-organized and packed with information as well as entertainment, and most important of all his enthusiasm is contagious.
Clearly Prof. Drout loves the subject, and this results in an immensely enjoyable presentation. I highly recommend this course to anybody with even a passing interest in science fiction.
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