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The Great Courses: Literature & Language

 
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  • Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
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    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
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    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.

  • Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative

    • ORIGINAL (32 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    (48)
    Story
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    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
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    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.

    Carolyn says: "No longer wasted on the young!"
  • 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
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    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"
  • The Life and Work of Mark Twain

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Stephen Railton
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    Samuel Clemens, the man known to history as Mark Twain, was more than one of America's greatest writers. He was our first true celebrity, one of the most photographed faces of the 19th and 20th centuries. This series of 24 lectures by an acclaimed teacher and scholar explores Twain's dual identities-as one of our classical authors and as an almost mythical presence in our nation's cultural life.

    Russell Bernard says: "Wonderful you to should listen"
  • A Day's Read

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein, Professor Emily Allen, Professor Grant L. Voth
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    Join three literary scholars and award-winning professors as they introduce you to dozens of short masterpieces that you can finish - and engage with - in a day or less. Perfect for people with busy lives who still want to discover-or rediscover-just how transformative an act of reading can be, these 36 lectures range from short stories of fewer than 10 pages to novellas and novels of around 200 pages. Despite their short length, these works are powerful examinations of the same subjects and themes that longer "great books" discuss.

  • Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Rufus J. Fears
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    (119)
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    Why do "Great Books" continue to speak to us hundreds and even thousands of years after they were written? Can they deepen our self-knowledge and wisdom? Are our lives changed in any meaningful way by the experience of reading them?Tackle these questions and more in these 36 engaging lectures. Beginning with his definition of a Great Book as one that possesses a great theme of enduring importance, noble language that "elevates the soul and ennobles the mind," and a universality that enables it to "speak across the ages," Professor Fears examines a body of work that offers extraordinary wisdom to those willing to receive it.

    Kristi Richardson says: "A course that will open you to new ideas."
  • The Skeptic's Guide to the Great Books

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant L. Voth
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    Daunted by the "great big books" of the Western canon? Looking for the same pleasures, satisfactions, and insights from books that are shorter, more accessible, and less dependent on classical references and difficult language than tomes such as Moby-Dick and Ulysses?

  • The Western Literary Canon in Context

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John M. Bowers
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    What exactly is the Western literary canon? Why does it contain certain works and not others? And what do particular works in the Western canon tell us about the development of literature and civilization? Explore these and other thought-provoking lectures with a thorough investigation of more than 30 key works of the Western canon and the critical roles they played-and continue to play-in the development of Western literature.

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