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 - is a unique expression of the human spirit and a fountain of advice, from how to conduct yourself in times of trouble to how to better appreciate the simple moments in your life.
You'll discover six broad themes that run through history's most compelling stories: the unconquerable human spirit, youth and old age, romance and love, adventure and courage, laughter and irony, and patriotism. In exploring these themes within the context of these Great Books, you learn new ideas about both the works themselves and the broad scope of the human condition.
If you haven't read these Great Books before, the warmth of Professor Fears's storytelling and his insightful approach to literature will have you heading to the library to learn more. And if you've already read these works, you'll discover new themes and ideas that will help you get more out of them.
Regardless of your previous familiarity with these works, you'll come to understand why these masterpieces remain eternal testaments to the variety of human experience and the powerful ways in which literature can guide and inspire us.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
This seemed like a great course. However I couldn't listen beyond Part One.
The professor comes across as a TV evangelical. I have no issue with that, except it isn't scholarly or interesting for me. I've had enough of bible studies. I expected great works of literature to be discussed. Not speeches and gospels. From the start of the series, the professor sets a tone that is too preachy for me to continue. Gospel is definitely an interesting subject, but the interpretation here of John's gospel made me very uncomfortable. If were not Christian, I imagine I would be offended that he pulls a Mel Gibson and makes a point to place blame for Jesus' death on Jewish leaders. There is no life lesson there.
Insightful. Entertaining. Scattered.
Recounting the story of the Odyssey, he reads his interpretation of the lesson from the book and you get a real feeling that this one struck him just a bit deeper then some of the rest.
Prof. Fears has done tons of wonderful content for TTC and this one is not an exception.
His descriptions of the lives of Washington and Lincoln in discussing their farewell and inauguration speeches rekindled a desire to research both.
Two minor quibbles: Prof. Fears structures the course as a series of themes, so the books feel a bit disjointed - he'll be talking about Greeks, then suddenly he'll be in early America. It also felt a bit "Western Civ" oriented (So the Tale of the Genji had nothing to teach us?)
But those two criticisms aside, I can happily recommend this series to anyone who likes to hear a very intelligent, thoughful person talking about something they're passionate about.
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