The Great Courses: English Literature

24 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 4,082 ratings

The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis Publisher's Summary

What can we still learn from C.S. Lewis? Find out in these 12 insightful lectures that cover the author's spiritual autobiography, novels, and his scholarly writings that reflect on pain and grief, love and friendship, prophecy and miracles, and education and mythology.

This is your chance to explore a canon of literary work that speaks volumes about the imaginative, emotional, and spiritual power of literature. As you delve into the depths of enduring works such as the Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, and Till We Have Faces, you'll consider a range of questions central to truly understanding why C.S. Lewis has had such a profound impact on 20th-century readers.

From the magisterial Oxford History of English Literature to children's fantasy series, how did Lewis write with such brilliance and coherence in so many distinct fields? What were the people, events, and influences that shaped his thought, his character, and the spiritual drama at his life's core? What do Lewis's fictional and factual autobiographies reveal about his conversion and his efforts to explain and defend Christianity? How do his writings help readers come to grips with perennial spiritual questions involving miracles, suffering, sin, and salvation?

Join Professor Markos for an eye-opening examination of why Lewis - the Oxbridge don and self-described, "very ordinary layman of the Church of England," touches millions of readers so deeply and is considered the most widely read Christian spokesman of our time.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
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    • The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis

    • By: Louis Markos, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Louis Markos
    • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 225
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 207
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 206

    What can we still learn from C.S. Lewis? Find out in these 12 insightful lectures that cover the author's spiritual autobiography, novels, and his scholarly writings that reflect on pain and grief, love and friendship, prophecy and miracles, and education and mythology.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • C.S. Lewis Would Be Proud

    • By Ark1836 on 08-31-15

    Regular price: $14.95

    • The Art of Reading

    • By: Timothy Spurgin, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Timothy Spurgin
    • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 193
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 164

    Artful reading-the way we read novels and short stories-is less about reading for specific information and more about reading to revel in the literary experience. Learning the skills and techniques of artful reading can improve your life in many ways, whether you're a fiction reader, an aspiring writer, a book club member, or a student.And the best part: These skills are not difficult or unwieldy; rather, they are well within your reach.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Practical for Readers and Writers

    • By Troy on 08-14-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Classics of American Literature

    • By: Arnold Weinstein, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Arnold Weinstein
    • Length: 43 hrs and 55 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 256
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    To truly understand the United States of America, you must explore its literary tradition. Now, in this grand collection of 84 fascinating lectures, you'll get the chance to finally become familiar with America's true literary masterpieces (some you may already be familiar with, others you have yet to discover). Professor Weinstein has crafted these lectures to explain why some works become classics while others do not, why some "immortal" works fade from our attention completely, and even why some contemporary works now being ignored or snubbed by critics may be considered immortal one day.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Incomparable AudiOverview of American Literature

    • By W Perry Hall on 02-05-14

    Regular price: $59.95

    • William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies

    • By: Peter Saccio, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Peter Saccio
    • Length: 18 hrs and 8 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 484
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    Shakespeare's plays - whether a comedy like A Midsummer Night's Dream, a history like Henry IV, or a tragedy like Hamlet - are treasure troves of insight into our very humanity. These 36 lectures introduce you to Shakespeare's major plays from each of these three genres and explain the achievement that makes him the leading playwright in Western civilization.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle.."

    • By Kristi R. on 07-01-16

    Regular price: $41.95

    • How to Read and Understand Shakespeare

    • By: Marc C. Conner, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Marc C. Conner
    • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 346
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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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • To Listen or Not to Listen…

    • By Ark1836 on 10-13-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • 20th-Century American Fiction

    • By: Arnold Weinstein, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Arnold Weinstein
    • Length: 16 hrs and 26 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 66
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 55
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 54

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • No longer wasted on the young!

    • By Carolyn on 08-26-13

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Joyce's Ulysses

    • By: James A. W. Heffernan, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: James A. W. Heffernan
    • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 216
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 201
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 198

    Ulysses depicts a world that is as fully conceived and vibrant as anything in Homer or Shakespeare. It has been delighting and puzzling readers since it was first published on Joyce's 40th birthday in 1922. And here, Professor Heffernan maps the brilliance, passion, humanity, and humor of Joyce's modern Odyssey in these 24 lectures that finally make a beguiling literary masterpiece accessible for anyone willing to give it a chance.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Good to Begin With

    • By Elisa on 06-21-16

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Shakespeare: The Word and the Action

    • By: Peter Saccio, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Peter Saccio
    • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 54
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 49
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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.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • More Downs than Ups - Not for Beginners

    • By Tommy D'Angelo on 12-27-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Modern British Drama

    • By: Peter Saccio, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Peter Saccio
    • Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 45
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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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Impressive introduction to Modern British Drama

    • By Erik on 08-12-14

    Regular price: $14.95

    • Literary Modernism: The Struggle for Modern History

    • By: Jeffrey Perl, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Jeffrey Perl
    • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 71
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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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Astounding!

    • By Daniel on 10-04-15

    Regular price: $14.95

    • The Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer

    • By: Seth Lerer, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Seth Lerer
    • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 32
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 31
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    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • "Chaucer is the name, writing is the game"

    • By Amazon Customer on 02-27-16

    Regular price: $14.95

    • The Life and Writings of John Milton

    • By: Seth Lerer, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Seth Lerer
    • Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 39
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      4 out of 5 stars 37
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    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Good overview of Milton and Paradise Lost

    • By Ernest on 01-21-14

    Regular price: $14.95

    • Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

    • By: Arnold Weinstein, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Arnold Weinstein
    • Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 144
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 131
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 129

    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?

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • No Course Credit; Just Ivy League Lit Appreciation

    • By W Perry Hall on 01-31-14

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Representing Justice: Stories of Law and Literature

    • By: Susan Sage Heinzelman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Susan Sage Heinzelman
    • Length: 12 hrs
    • Original Recording
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      4 out of 5 stars 21
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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?

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great insights into relevant books and topics.

    • By B Keairns on 06-16-17

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Classics of British Literature

    • By: John Sutherland, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: John Sutherland
    • Length: 24 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 202
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 184
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 180

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Listing Contents of this Interesting Course

    • By Chelle on 01-17-17

    Regular price: $52.95

    • The English Novel

    • By: Timothy Spurgin, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Timothy Spurgin
    • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 85
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 76
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    Who can imagine life without novels? They have served not merely as diversions but as companions for so much of our lives, offering hours of pleasure and, at their best, insights few of us can ever quantify. But the simple joy of reading novels sometimes obscures our awareness of the deeper roles they play in our lives: honing our intellect, quenching our emotional thirsts, and shaping our sense of ourselves and of the world we live in.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Loved My First Course!

    • By Emily on 07-11-16

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets

    • By: Willard Spiegelman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Willard Spiegelman
    • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 57
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 52
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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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Truly a Great Course

    • By Phedippides on 12-09-16

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Great American Bestsellers: The Books That Shaped America

    • By: Peter Conn, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Peter Conn
    • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 219
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 193
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 193

    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.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Looking for the great in great

    • By Deborah Jacob on 05-19-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Masterworks of Early 20th-Century Literature

    • By: David Thorburn, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: David Thorburn
    • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 53
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 47
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 44

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Most Enriching Course Ever

    • By W Perry Hall on 09-08-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Life and Work of Mark Twain

    • By: Stephen Railton, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Stephen Railton
    • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 44
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      4 out of 5 stars 42
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      4 out of 5 stars 42

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Masterful

    • By Scott Poelman on 10-24-17

    Regular price: $52.95

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