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The Great Courses: Literature & Language

 
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  • Herodotus: The Father of History

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Witness the "works and wonders" of the ancient world through the eyes of its first great historian in this sparkling series of 24 lectures from a much-honored teacher and classical scholar.Herodotus (c. 484-420 B.C.E.) was a Greek who was born in what is now the modern Turkish resort town of Bodrum and who died, so tradition says, in the south of Italy. In between, his tirelessly inquiring mind took him from one corner of the known world to another.

    Betsy says: "Really Loved It"
  • Myth in Human History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant L. Voth
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (96)

    Myths provide the keys to truly grasping the ways that principles, rituals, codes, and taboos are woven into the fabric of a particular society or civilization. It's through myths that we can answer these and other fundamental questions: How was the universe created, and why? What is the purpose of evil? Why is society organized the way it is? How did natural features like rivers, mountains, and oceans emerge?This entertaining and illuminating course plunges you into the world's greatest myths.

    Walter says: "Five stars, with some caveats"
  • The Aeneid of Virgil

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (42)

    The Aeneid is the great national epic of ancient Rome, and one of the most important works of literature ever written. And with Professor Vandiver's 12 instructive lectures, you'll enter fully into the gripping tale that Virgil tells. Join Aeneas on his long journey west from ruined Troy to the founding of a new nation in Italy, and see how he weaves a rich network of compelling human themes. Your encounter with the Aeneid focuses on careful, detailed examinations of the epic's background, main themes, and significant episodes.

  • The Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Seth Lerer
    • Narrated By Professor Seth Lerer
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    Geoffrey Chaucer is one of our grandest and most enduring poets; an architect of our vocabulary and our literary style. By examining the English writer's texts, from his short love lyrics to the copious profusion of character and incident that is The Canterbury Tales, these 12 lectures will prepare you for the challenges of Chaucer's oeuvre, and will provide an understanding of what makes him the true "father" of English poetry.

    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds says: "Not much about the life of Chaucer"
  • The Life and Writings of John Milton

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Seth Lerer
    • Narrated By Professor Seth Lerer
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    There is no disputing that John Milton is considered one of the supreme writers in the history of English letters. Yet, for a number of reasons, many modern readers are unaware of the pleasures of his poetry and prose. These 12 lectures examine Milton's life and work in order to understand the richness and depth of his poetry, its ways of representing 17th-century English life and culture, and its impact on later writers and on English literary history as a whole.

    george says: "Chapters need to be given titles!"
  • Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    What if you could travel anywhere, whether Europe, South America, or the remote reaches of the African continent? And what if you could choose not only your destination, but your era, as well-so that you might choose from the sparkling court society of 18th-century France, a 19th-century whaling ship out of New Bedford, or the streets of Dublin in the early part of the 20th century?

    W. Perry Hall says: "No Course Credit; Just Ivy League Lit Appreciation"
  • Literary Modernism: The Struggle for Modern History

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jeffrey Perl
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Professor Perl invites you in these eight lectures to abandon your preconceptions and consider some of the most controversial authors of the 20th century: the Modernists.Who were they? How did "classical" Modernists like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce differ from "neo-Modernists" like Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams? What made them believe and write as they did? Why were political extremism, war, and self-destructive behavior such defining forces in their writing (and their personal demons)? What do they have to say to us today in the 21st century?These lectures place literary Modernism within the wide-ranging context of the philosophy, literature, politics, and morality of its time. In doing so, they allow you to look more clearly at the writers and works who have contributed to the definition of human culture. You'll see Eliot, Joyce, Pound, Yeats, James, Lawrence, and others spring to life with their radical beliefs about art and their unforgettable novels and stories. These lectures do not shrink from the challenges imposed by exploring Modernism, or from challenging the answers that scholars have routinely accepted. Nor do they shy away from the difficulties of literary Modernism itself; a literary genre that intimidates many. But despite all this, these lectures are brilliantly organized, crystal clear, and an invaluable tool for finally wrapping your brain around a dramatic roster of authors and an enduring canon of literature.

    Peregrine says: "Fine record of Perl's thinking"
  • Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative

    • ORIGINAL (32 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    The major texts of Western culture are a gateway to wisdom that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways. And now you can examine its most important works - whether drama, poetry, or narrative - in this series of 64 penetrating lectures that reveal astonishing common ground.

    Saud says: "Could have been more"
  • The Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Willard Spiegelman
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    The verse of the English Romantic poets is as daunting in its scope and complexity as it is dazzling in its technique and beautiful in its language. Now, in a series of 24 incisive lectures by an honored and distinguished teacher, scholar, and author, you can grasp how England's finest Romantic voices created their masterpieces.

    Avid reader says: "Incomparable passion and expertise -- a joy"
  • Masterpieces of the Imaginative Mind: Literature's Most Fantastic Works

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Eric S. Rabkin
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Many of literature's greatest works, from ancient myths to the works of Nobel laureates, rely on fantasy. Even when there has been a dominant preference for realism, generation after generation of readers have been drawn to stories of the fantastic-not only for what they help us learn about ourselves as individuals or as members of society, but also for what they show about our social values.

  • Representing Justice: Stories of Law and Literature

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Susan Sage Heinzelman
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    What is the dynamic relationship between our culture's written and unwritten laws and its literature? How is that relationship evolving? How do law and literature influence or reflect one other? And what lessons might we draw from their symbiotic relationship?

  • The Odyssey of Homer

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (60)

    What is it in Homer's Odyssey that has so enthralled readers from around the world for thousands of years? By joining Professor Vandiver for these 12 lectures on the Odyssey, you'll find out why.This literary exploration centers on a single provocative question about the epic poem's protagonist, Odysseus: Why does he long so powerfully to go home? To probe the depths of this question, you'll embark on meticulous, insightful examinations of the most important episodes in the Odyssey.

    Betsy says: "Enjoyable"
  • Medieval Heroines in History and Legend

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bonnie Wheeler
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    This series of 24 fascinating lectures draws on the latest modern scholarship to explore the lives of four medieval women who still shimmer in the modern imagination: Heloise, the abbess and mistress of Abelard; the prophet Hildegard of Bingen; Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine; and Joan of Arc. These lectures exemplify today's golden age of medieval scholarship, in which the role women played in medieval life is being clarified for the first time.

  • Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Ashton Nichols
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    The America we know today is so different in its fundamental views about almost every aspect of life as to be unrecognizable to our countrymen of two centuries ago. On issues as divergent as slavery, women's rights, education, the environment, and many others, we are simply no longer the country we were.What is the source of not only these changes, but of our distinctly American way of experiencing ourselves-confident in our value as individuals, certain of our ability to discover truths, self-reliant in the face of uncertainty and change?

    Ray says: "Dry subject matter made interesting"
  • Classics of British Literature

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John Sutherland
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (49)

    For more than 1,500 years, the literature of Great Britain has taught, nurtured, thrilled, outraged, and humbled readers both inside and outside its borders.Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Swift, Conrad, Wilde-the roster of powerful British writers is remarkable. More important, Britain's writers have long challenged readers with new ways of understanding an ever-changing world.This series of 48 fascinating lectures by an award-winning professor.

    Mark says: "The Best of British"
  • Greek Tragedy

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (31)

    Greek tragedy was a dramatic form that flourished for less than a full century. And yet it remains vibrant, alive, and productive today. And the form's masterpieces help us-as perhaps they helped their original audiences-grasp a fuller sense of the terror and wonder of life. Professor Vandiver has designed these 24 rich and rewarding lectures to give you a full overview of Greek tragedy, both in its original setting and as a lasting contribution to the artistic exploration of the human condition.

    Joshua says: "Theatre History Done Right!"
  • Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (42 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, Professor James A. W. Heffernan
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (55)

    From the anonymous author of the Epic of Gilgamesh in ancient Mesopotamia to William Faulkner writing about Mississippi 3,600 years later, many of Western culture's greatest figures have been writers. Their landmark themes, unique insights into human nature, dynamic characters, experimental storytelling techniques, and rich philosophical ideas helped create the vibrant storytelling methods we find reflected in today's authors.

    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds says: "Epic Audio"
  • The Iliad of Homer

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (83)

    For thousands of years, Homer's ancient epic poem the Iliad has enchanted readers from around the world. When you join Professor Vandiver for this lecture series on the Iliad, you'll come to understand what has enthralled and gripped so many people.Her compelling 12-lecture look at this literary masterpiece -whether it's the work of many authors or the "vision" of a single blind poet - makes it vividly clear why, after almost 3,000 years, the Iliad remains not only among the greatest adventure stories ever told but also one of the most compelling meditations on the human condition ever written.

    Elan says: "Vandiver never disappoints"
  • 20th-Century American Fiction

    • ORIGINAL (16 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    Hemingway. Fitzgerald. Faulkner. These and other giants of literature are immediately recognizable to anyone who loves to read fiction and even to many who don't. Now, thanks to these 32 lectures, you can develop fresh insight into some of the greatest American authors of the 20th century. Professor Weinstein sheds light not only on the sheer magnificence of these writers' literary achievements but also explores their uniquely American character as well.

    Madeleine says: "A Truly Enriching Experience"
  • From Plato to Post-modernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Louis Markos
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    Any lover of Shakespeare or the Romantic poets can concede that poetry is pleasurable. But is it good for you? Can it teach you anything? These are questions that have beguiled and engaged eminent critics for millennia, and now you can develop your own answers and options with these 24 lectures.

    Madeleine says: "Very good until it it gets to the 20th Century"
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