Cover art for Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative

Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative

17 ratings

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

Length: 32 hrs and 48 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for A Day's Read

A Day's Read

2 ratings

Summary

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 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. And with three great professors coming together to offer their own looks at literature, you'll get a multitude of ways to approach and think about grand human themes, including the nature of love and the mysteries of fate; the riddle of identity and the trials of growing up; the complex ties between individuals and their societies; the ways we make sense of personal and public history. In the company of these three professors, you'll also approach the evolution of the modern novel, the development of literary genres such as graphic novels and creative nonfiction, the role of politics and culture in inspiring authors, and much more. What's more, by exploring literature through three perspectives instead of one, you'll get an opportunity to see how literature professors - just like everyone else - approach and read books in their own unique way. It's like getting three distinct learning experiences, all in one single, affordable package. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

Available on Audible
Cover art for Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

2 ratings

Summary

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? And what about the most remarkable journey of all: the voyage inside the mind of another human being, in which you plumb the thoughts and emotions that usually remain hidden deep within?What remarkable secrets would you learn about the puzzling, sometimes shocking thing we call human nature? The lives lived in distant lands and eras? And, most important, ourselves-the human race of which you are a part? If you're a serious reader, you already know that these are the kinds of adventures that await you in the classic novels of great literature. And if you're not, the 36 spellbinding lectures of this series, delivered by a gifted and prize-winning teacher, might just convince you why you ought to be, as you take an epic journey through three centuries, sojourn in foreign lands, and enter remarkable realms of the imagination. The lectures take you beyond what is often offered in literary courses-plots, anecdotes, facts about where and when a novel was written. Instead, you'll gain something far more profound: an opportunity to experience the startling brilliance that makes each of these works-from geniuses like Dickens, Joyce, Tolstoy, Balzac, Proust, and many others-a classic. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Classics of American Literature

Classics of American Literature

4 ratings

Summary

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. One memorable work at a time, you'll see how each of these masterpieces shares the uncompromising uniqueness that invariably marks the entire American literary canon. From Sleepy Hollow to The Great Gatsby and beyond, you'll journey through more than two centuries of the best writers America has yet produced, bringing out the beauty of their language, the excitement of their stories, and the value in what they say about life, power, love, adventure, and what it means, in every sense, to be American. You'll explore the roles of self-reliance and the "self-made man" in the evolution of American literature; the evolution of the American ghost story, from Poe and Hawthorne to James and Morrison; the epic strain in American literature, from Melville and Whitman to Faulkner and Ellison; the perspectives on nature revealed in poets Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, and Eliot; the tenets of Modernism in the work of Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner; the contributions of O'Neill, Miller, and Williams to American theater; and much more. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1998 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1998 The Great Courses

Length: 43 hrs and 55 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living

The Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living

1 rating

Summary

These eight lectures are a celebration of humanity and the rich texture of human experience. They are a fascinating focus on the complex artistic representations of city life from the 18th to the 20th century. Join Professor Weinstein as he reveals the portraits of humanity that came from several of the period's greatest artists, writers, and thinkers. Among them: Painter Edvard Munch, who depicts the emptiness of urban living Poet Charles Baudelaire, who celebrates how crowds impact his imagination Author Daniel Defoe, who dramatizes the freedom the city offers people who want to change their identities Author Theodore Dreiser, who views the city as a huge, brutal, industrial machine that systematically grinds up individuals Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who believes that the city is like the mind: a receptacle for the past, as well as for hidden lives and passions These lectures reveal several vital themes that appear in artists' subjective renderings of urban living: orientation (finding our way), the marketplace (exchanging goods and services), anonymity (experiencing solitude or freedom), encounters (fearing or connecting with others), history (maintaining contact with other times), and cultures (entering the cities' ever-changing cultural forms). Why use art as a guide to city life? According to Professor Weinstein, "Art usually supports what we learn from scientific studies of urban life. Art provides us with something social science cannot: a subjective rendering of city experience that is not quantifiable. Such a depiction includes our fears, desires, and dreams. Art serves as a record for these experiences."

©1991 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1991 The Great Courses

Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for 20th-Century American Fiction

20th-Century American Fiction

1 rating

Summary

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. Despite their remarkable variety, each author represents an outlook and a body of work that could only have emerged in the United States. As such, the aim of these lectures is to analyze and appreciate some of the major works of American fiction, using as a focal point the idea of freedom of speech. The works you'll investigate here include Winesburg, Ohio (among the most poignant descriptions of life at the beginning of the century); Light in August (which depicts the ravages of racism in the American South); Their Eyes Were Watching God (the first – and perhaps the best – account of growing up black and female in America); Slaughterhouse-Five (a poignant and wacky take of mass destruction and aliens); Sula (an experimental novel that makes rubble out of the conventions of black and white culture); and White Noise (which depicts our encounter with the technological madhouse in which we live). These American fictions, seen together, tell a composite story about coping, about fashioning both a story and a life. Much is dark in these stories, but the honesty and integrity of these writers makes us realize that reading is as much a lifeline as it is entertainment or education.

©1996 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1996 The Great Courses

Available on Audible