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The Great Courses: Literature & Language


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  • English Grammar Boot Camp

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Anne Curzan
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (347)
    Story
    (346)

    Grammar! For many of us, the word triggers memories of finger-wagging schoolteachers, and of wrestling with the ambiguous and complicated rules of using formal language. But what is grammar? In fact, it's the integral basis of how we speak and write. As such, a refined awareness of grammar opens a world of possibilities for both your pleasure in the English language and your skill in using it, in both speech and the written word.

    Quaker says: "Spectacular"
  • The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction

    • ORIGINAL (19 hrs and 1 min)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Schmid
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (42)

    Great mystery and suspense writers have created some of the most unforgettable stories in all of literature. Even those who don't consider themselves fans of this intriguing genre are familiar with names such as Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade, Hannibal Lecter, and Robert Langdon, and understand the deep and lasting impact this writing has had on literature as a whole.

    Carol says: "I Admit I Cut a Few Classes"
  • English in America: A Linguistic History

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Natalie Schilling
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (97)

    Think about this: How would you address a group of two or more people? Would you say: "you", "you all", "yous", "you lot", "y'all", "you guys", "you'uns", "yinz", or something else? Would that change depending on whom you were talking to or where you were? Your answers can provide revealing insights into who you are, where you grew up or live now, and your social, economic, and educational background. Welcome to the enthralling world of linguistics.

    LadyLindi says: "More like a book than lectures"
  • How Great Science Fiction Works

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gary K. Wolfe
    Overall
    (1061)
    Performance
    (953)
    Story
    (931)

    Robots, spaceships, futuristic megacities, planets orbiting distant stars. These icons of science fiction are now in our daily news. Science fiction, once maligned as mere pulp, has motivated cutting-edge scientific research, inspired new technologies, and changed how we view everyday life - and its themes and questions permeate popular culture. Take an unparalleled look at the influence, history, and greatest works of science fiction with illuminating insights and fascinating facts about this wide-ranging genre.

    Carol says: "Deserves a Hugo of Its Own"
  • How to Publish Your Book

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jane Friedman
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (107)

    In 24 eye-opening lectures, Jane Friedman, publishing industry expert and educator, provides you with sought-after secrets of the publishing process that will help you navigate this difficult progression, bypass pitfalls that many novice authors get hung up on, and improve your chances of being considered for publication. She acts as your personal guide though the entire process: from finalizing your manuscript to writing the perfect pitch to reviewing contracts and marketing your book.

    Travis S. says: "Beyond Expectation Amazing!"
  • King Arthur: History and Legend

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dorsey Armstrong
    Overall
    (641)
    Performance
    (584)
    Story
    (577)

    These 24 spellbinding lectures reveal the full scope of the Arthurian tradition, from its beginnings in post-Roman Britain to its extraordinary trajectory across the centuries and its latest incarnations in modern times. Your pathfinder in this world of mythic adventure and romance, Professor Armstrong, is one of the world's leading Arthurian scholars and the current editor-in-chief of the academic journal Arthuriana.

    C. Telfair says: "Twelve Hours in Camelot"
  • Building a Better Vocabulary

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kevin Flanigan
    Overall
    (914)
    Performance
    (797)
    Story
    (764)

    Building a Better Vocabulary offers an intriguing look at the nuts and bolts of English, teaches you the etymology and morphology - or the history and structure - of words, and delves into the cognitive science behind committing new words to long-term memory. By the end of the 36 enjoyable lectures, you will have a practical framework for continuing to build your vocabulary by discovering new words and fully mastering the nuances of familiar ones.

    Christie says: "Simply amazing. Also, bad reviews can be explained."
  • Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Valerie Fridland
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (70)

    In these 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll investigate how social differences based on factors such as region, class, ethnicity, occupation, gender, and age are inseparable from language differences. Further, you'll explore how these linguistic differences arise, and how they both reflect and generate our social systems.

    Amazon Customer says: "Like nails on a chalkboard"
  • Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor James Hynes
    Overall
    (1429)
    Performance
    (1276)
    Story
    (1225)

    From evoking a scene to charting a plot to revising your drafts, Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques offers a master class in storytelling. Taught by award-winning novelist James Hynes, a former visiting professor at the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, these 24 insightful lectures show you the ins and outs of the fiction writer's craft.

    William says: "Good advice and sobering truths"
  • 36 Books That Changed the World

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Andrew R. Wilson, Brad S. Gregory, Charles Kimball, and others
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (205)

    Certain works of literature, history, science, philosophy, political theory and religion offer powerful examples of how books can spark revolutions, birth great religions, spur scientific advancements, shape world economies, teach us new ways of thinking, and much more. And with this fascinating collection crafted from our extensive library of courses, you can now get a single course that represents 36 of our best lectures on literary works that changed the world.

    Pegeen says: "too many trees not enough forest"
  • Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas A. Shippey
    Overall
    (920)
    Performance
    (824)
    Story
    (815)

    Odysseus. Robinson Crusoe. Harry Potter. What do these memorable characters have in common? Why do we turn to certain stories again and again? And what impact have they made on world history? These 24 eye-opening lectures give fresh insight into some of the greatest heroes in world literature, from warriors such as Beowulf and Odysseus to unexpected heroes such as Uncle Tom and Sancho Panza. Professor Shippey gives you an inside glimpse into the writer's process.

    Teri-K says: "Entertaining Look at Western Literary Characters"
  • Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (1030)
    Story
    (1007)

    Linguistics, the study of language, has a reputation for being complex and inaccessible. But here's a secret: There's a lot that's quirky and intriguing about how human language works-and much of it is downright fun to learn about. But with so many potential avenues of exploration, it can often seem daunting to try to understand it. Where does one even start?

    Jacobus says: "A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics"
  • Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Marc Zender
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (117)

    At just over 5,000 years old, writing is actually a relatively recent invention. It has become so central to the way we communicate and live, however, that it often seems as if writing has always existed. But the question remains: Who invented writing, and why?In these 24 fascinating lectures, you'll trace the remarkable saga of the invention and evolution of "visible speech," from its earliest origins to its future in the digital age.

    Jacobus says: "A Spellbinding survey of writing systems"
  • Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas A. Shippey
    Overall
    (920)
    Performance
    (824)
    Story
    (815)

    Odysseus. Robinson Crusoe. Harry Potter. What do these memorable characters have in common? Why do we turn to certain stories again and again? And what impact have they made on world history? These 24 eye-opening lectures give fresh insight into some of the greatest heroes in world literature, from warriors such as Beowulf and Odysseus to unexpected heroes such as Uncle Tom and Sancho Panza. Professor Shippey gives you an inside glimpse into the writer's process.

    Teri-K says: "Entertaining Look at Western Literary Characters"
  • Classical Mythology

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (1287)
    Performance
    (1139)
    Story
    (1132)

    These 24 lectures are a vibrant introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you'll investigate are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

    Matt says: "Very Informative and Entertaining"
  • The Art of Reading

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Timothy Spurgin
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (118)

    Artful reading-the way we read novels and short stories-is less about reading for specific information and more about reading to revel in the literary experience. Learning the skills and techniques of artful reading can improve your life in many ways, whether you're a fiction reader, an aspiring writer, a book club member, or a student.And the best part: These skills are not difficult or unwieldy; rather, they are well within your reach.

    Troy says: "Practical for Readers and Writers"
  • Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Brooks Landon
    Overall
    (416)
    Performance
    (367)
    Story
    (353)

    Why do some lengthy sentences flow effortlessly while others stumble along? Why are you captivated by the writing of particular authors? How can you craft sentences that reflect your unique outlook on the world? This lively, 24-lecture course introduces you to the myriad ways in which we think about, talk about, and write sentences. Reviving the sentence-oriented approach to studying writing, Professor Landon provides a greater context for what makes sentences great - and how you can apply these methods to your own writing.

    Kazuhiko says: "I appreciate long sentences more now"
  • The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (1853)
    Performance
    (1685)
    Story
    (1657)

    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

    Deep Reader says: "You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again"
  • Classics of American Literature

    • ORIGINAL (43 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (156)

    To truly understand the United States of America, you must explore its literary tradition. Now, in this grand collection of 84 fascinating lectures, you'll get the chance to finally become familiar with America's true literary masterpieces (some you may already be familiar with, others you have yet to discover). Professor Weinstein has crafted these lectures to explain why some works become classics while others do not, why some "immortal" works fade from our attention completely, and even why some contemporary works now being ignored or snubbed by critics may be considered immortal one day.

    W Perry Hall says: "Incomparable AudiOverview of American Literature"
  • William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Peter Saccio
    Overall
    (310)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (269)

    Shakespeare's plays - whether a comedy like A Midsummer Night's Dream, a history like Henry IV, or a tragedy like Hamlet - are treasure troves of insight into our very humanity. These 36 lectures introduce you to Shakespeare's major plays from each of these three genres and explain the achievement that makes him the leading playwright in Western civilization.

    Amazon Customer says: "A MASTERPIECE OF SCHOLARSHIP AND DELIVERY"
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