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Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative Lecture

Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative

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Publisher's Summary

The major texts of Western culture are a gateway to wisdom that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways. The extraordinary body of literature given us by writers from antiquity to the present day, as Professor Weinstein notes, "is potent stuff, serving not only as transcription of history but also as a verbal Pandora's box, capable of shedding light on those transactions which remain in the dark for many of us: love, death, fear, desire. We are talking about more than artful language; we are talking about the life of the past and the life of the world."

It is truly a monumental legacy. 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. You'll see how this award-winning teacher uses several different analytical perspectives, including Feminism, Marxism, Freudianism, Deconstruction, Postmodernism, and New Historicism, to give us fresh insight into persisting human themes like rites of passage; the "fit" or "misfit" between self and society; the creation of an identity; and the play, weight, and presence of the past in understanding our present.

You learn how drama makes visible the conflicts and wars of culture in ways other forms cannot manage. How poetry can go to the heart of human existence with a purity and power akin to surgery, bidding us to challenge and change the way we usually do business. And how narrative can tell life stories in ways that enable a possession of that life that is hardly imaginable any other way.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (87 )
5 star
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4.6 (79 )
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4.6 (78 )
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Performance
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  •  
    AnneNorton 08-05-14
    AnneNorton 08-05-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    6
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    "Great Course, Great Professor, Great Book!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recommended to several friends and my family; Prof. Weinstein is a thoughtful, intelligent and humorous teacher.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative?

    Prof. Weinstein's reading I Am Ceded by Dickinson.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Arnold Weinstein – was your favorite?

    Walt Whitman


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed, I cried, and I will listen to it again.


    Any additional comments?

    I am an old English major, retired librarian, and this was the best course I have ever taken. Thank you for offering it and thank you Professor Weinstein.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Auburn, CA, United States 03-20-15
    Patricia Auburn, CA, United States 03-20-15

    pjlyon

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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    "What a PrivilegeTyp"

    I wasn't the best student, so the hallowed halls of the Ivy League wouldn't be open to someone like me. That makes this series of lectures so profound. It's as if I met a whole new world of depth and thought. All I really want to say is thank you.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deep Reader 02-14-14
    Deep Reader 02-14-14

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    330
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    Story
    "Could have been more"

    This is an analysis of a select few classic literary works and discussing the themes within it to a contemporary audience, with a consideration of the societal elements present when it was written.

    It could have been doubled in length and not have covered everything available to analyse. It is an excellent, ambitious attempt in a subject that is massive in scope.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael North Hampton, NH 12-23-15
    Michael North Hampton, NH 12-23-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extraordinary insight. A work of professorial art."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative to be better than the print version?

    Absolutely. The professor lectures in his southern accent but does a phenomenal job of mimicking speech as he recites texts from diverse sources.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There was a consistent theme of "finding ones own voice" throughout.


    What does Professor Arnold Weinstein bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His passion, his focus, his voice, especially the latter: he can blend in to his object of interest so well as to transmit its essence to the listener, as if the listener were discovering it on his or her own.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    By no means. This is one which ought to be interrupted by forays into source texts.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rubin 07-17-15
    Rubin 07-17-15 Member Since 2014

    Rubin

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Best on My List"
    What did you love best about Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative?

    This is the best course I've listened to so far--intensely interesting topics, captivating teaching style and beautifully written lecture full of thought provoking ideas,. I finished the course within a week, often forgetting what I was doing. I cannot wait to listen to this course again.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob Z. Campbell 09-11-15 Member Since 2016

    Novelist, & Graphic illustrator.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Great and Zooming with info"

    This first part of these lectures is amazing. The delivery is astoundingly good. Did here and stood firm principles of psychoanalysis as well as literary analysis or great.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne 05-25-16
    Anne 05-25-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Yes"

    Couldn't reccomend this more! This course deepened my pleasure of familiar texts and tempted me to approach some unfamiar works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Duncan 02-03-16
    Duncan 02-03-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    9
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    Story
    "Poor selection, slurping, Sex!!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    When I look for something non-fiction and academic I look for quality .i.e Poets corner by John Lithgow.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    I doubt it.


    How could the performance have been better?

    It is clear that the presenter is very very capable but maybe I am not the market you are looking for.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. There is so much uplifting quality stuff available. Maybe this is an academic situation and I am looking for something that is not so in-your-face. I believe that I want to be entertained as well as being educated. I don't expect that sex has to be such an issue in an academic presentation.


    0 of 15 people found this review helpful
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  • Farniboy
    Wirral, UK
    4/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, Informative English Literature course"

    A great, if sometimes heavy listen. The issue for me was that I'm not particularly well read (one of the reasons I listen to The Great Courses!) so I hadn't heard of some of the poets and playwright's discussed here. T Weinstein's strength his he gets across the information in an easy listening way. Like all the Great Courses that I've listened to, well worth a listen!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jess Hoare
    12/1/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "A great intoduction"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great and wide sweeping introduction. Professor Arnold Weinstein is engaging and interesting.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative?

    This book has expanded my understanding greatly.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Magdalena
    4/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable narrative to listen"

    Prof. Weinstein's way of presentation is engaging and interesting. The lectures are chronologically structured and different literary genres are introduced. I would definitely recommend the course.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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