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The Great Courses: Literature & Language

 
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  • 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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    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.

    Gallila says: "Nice set of lectures"
  • Great American Bestsellers: The Books That Shaped America

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Peter Conn
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    Best-selling books have played a critical role in influencing the tastes and purchasing habits of American readers for more than 100 years. But there is more to America's great best-selling books than the sales figures they rake in. American bestsellers also offer us ways to appreciate and understand particular periods of American culture.In this series of 24 lectures you'll enjoy a pointed look at key best-selling works and their places within the greater fabric of American cultural history.

    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds says: "Informative and entertaining"
  • Modern British Drama

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Peter Saccio
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    Waiting for Godot. The Importance of Being Earnest. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Since Shakespeare's time, no period has produced more brilliant and various theatrical dramas in Great Britain than in the past 100 years. Professor Saccio has selected the major British playwrights of the past century to cover Wilde, Shaw, Coward, Beckett, Osborne, Pinter, Stoppard, Churchill, and Hare.

    Erik says: "Impressive introduction to Modern British Drama"
  • The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Seth Lerer
    • Narrated By Professor Seth Lerer
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    This course offers an overview of the English language that is literary, historical, cultural, political, and scientific in its scope and designed to give you greater insight into the written and spoken word.The lectures provide a thorough understanding of the history of the English language - from its origins as a dialect of the Germanic-speaking peoples through the literary and cultural documents of its 1,500-year span to the state of American speech today.

    John says: "Good, But Could Be Better"
  • Masterworks of Early 20th-Century Literature

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Thorburn
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    If you've ever longed to read the great Modernist novels of the early 20th century - perhaps James Joyce's Ulysses, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, or William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! - but have shied away or set them down because of their intimidating style, fragmented narrative, or lack of a clear plot, you no longer need to wait, or be reluctant to return. In this series of 24 lectures, an acclaimed literary scholar and award-winning teacher has created an accessible gateway to this remarkable literary movement.

    W Perry Hall says: "Most Enriching Course Ever"
  • How to Read and Understand Shakespeare

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Marc C. Conner
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    Shakespeare's works are among the greatest of humanity's cultural expressions and, as such, demand to be experienced and understood. But, simply put, Shakespeare is difficult. His language and culture - those of Elizabethan England - are greatly different from our own, and his poetry, thick with metaphorical imagery and double meanings, can be hard to penetrate.

    MR says: "understanding the Bard"
  • Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dorsey Armstrong
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    Tap into the power of effective writing by developing the fundamental critical and analytical skills that transform your writing from "good" to "great." Regardless of your subject, goal, or occasion, these skills will help you organize your thoughts into a coherent piece, make a persuasive argument rooted in facts, and make responsible use of research materials.

    Louis says: "Really helpful overview."
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
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    Conventional wisdom suggests English is going to the dogs, that bad grammar, slang, and illogical constructions signal a decline in standards of usage - to say nothing of the corruption wrought by email and text messages. But English is a complicated, marvelous language. Far from being a language in decline, English is the product of surprisingly varied linguistic forces, some of which have only recently come to light. And these forces continue to push English in exciting new directions.

    Quaker says: "This course will turn you into a linguistics fan!"
  • The History of World Literature

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant L. Voth
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    Whether around the campfire, between the covers of a great book, or in the theater, the desire to tell stories has been a common human impulse for thousands of years. These 48 lectures take you on a journey through time and around the world-from the enormous auditoriums of ancient Greece to a quiet study in the home of a 19th-century New England spinster - to introduce the history of world literature. In this course, you'll sample some of the greatest literary expressions the world has known and experience storytelling in its many forms, including poetry, drama, and narrative.

    Richard says: "Excellent introduction to world literature"
  • Life Lessons from the Great Books

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
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    Study more than three dozen works that span the timelines of Western history, from ancient Greece and Rome to the modern age. Whether written 2,000, 200, or 20 years ago, the enduring works of literature still speak to us and place our unique experiences into a larger perspective, offering invaluable lessons for every important moment in life. Every Great Book you explore over these 36 insightful lectures-from the Odyssey and the Gospel of John to Hamlet and Animal Farm.

    R. Hansen says: "Interesting but a bit scattered by Prof. Fears"
  • The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Anne Curzan
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    From new words such as "bling" and "email" to the role of text messaging and other electronic communications, English is changing all around us. Discover the secrets behind the words in our everyday lexicon with this delightful, informative survey of English, from its Germanic origins to the rise of globalization and cyber-communications. Professor Curzan approaches words like an archaeologist, digging below the surface to uncover the story of words, from the humble "she" to such SAT words as "conflagration" and "pedimanous."

    lute player says: "A must read."
  • Dante's Divine Comedy

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Ronald B. Herzman, Professor William R. Cook
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    Professors Cook and Herzman provide you with an illuminating introduction to one of the greatest works ever written. One of the most profound and satisfying of all poems, The Divine Comedy (or Commedia) of Dante Alighieri is a book for life. In a brilliantly constructed narrative of his imaginary guided pilgrimage through the three realms of the Christian afterlife, Dante accomplished a literary task of astonishing complexity. In these twenty-four lectures, as you follow Dante on his journey, you'll learn how medieval literature offers insights into fundamental questions.

    Patti says: "The Commedia for Modern Readers"
  • Masterpieces of Short Fiction

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Michael Krasny
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    More than simply a shorter version of the novel, the short story is a unique and rewarding literary form in itself. It offers a world in miniature faithfully captured by the author's mastery of character, plot, setting, image, and theme. The time it takes to read a short story may be brief, but its impact lasts much longer. Short story writers see by the light of the flash," says author and Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer. "Theirs is the art of the only thing that one can be sure of-the present moment."

    David L. Wilson says: "A Few New Ideas for Short Fiction"
  • Writing Creative Nonfiction

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Tilar J J. Mazzeo
    • Narrated By Professor Tilar J J. Mazzeo
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    Bringing together the imaginative strategies of fiction storytelling and new ways of narrating true, real-life events, creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing part of the creative writing world. It's a cutting-edge genre that's reshaping how we write (and read) everything from biographies and memoirs to blogs and public speaking scripts to personal essays and magazine articles.

    Tomodachi says: "Great Information - Reasonable Presentation"
  • Shakespeare: The Word and the Action

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Peter Saccio
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    Shakespeare's works are some of the greatest achievements of the human mind and spirit. And yet, for far too many of us, they remain a closed book. Why? Professor Saccio is well suited in these 16 lectures to bring you back into Shakespeare's world and tune you into what he calls "Shakespeare's wavelength." As you hear him effortlessly deliver heretofore impenetrable language with the proper meter, emphasis, intonation, and emotion, you'll experience the pleasure that comes with true mastery.

    Phebe says: "Problem"
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