Great Books Courses (Division 382)

There are three sets of Great Books courses: Great Books 191 and 192, a two-term sequence for Honors freshmen; Great Books 201, 202, 203, and 221, a set of four courses primarily for freshman and sophomores, but open to upperclassmen as well; and Great Books 391, 392, and 393, three one-credit short courses, each devoted to the study of a single great book. All of the Great Books courses share the same general objectives and entail similar kinds of work. The required reading in Great Books 191 and 192, and in 201, 202, 203, and 221, includes books of three different kinds: history, philosophy, and imaginative literature. Consequently these courses serve in part as introductions to those disciplines. The books for these courses are chosen for their intrinsic excellence, their nontechnical nature, and because of the influence which they exert on modern culture. These books present basic ideas and issues about the inner life of the individual, about the social and political life of man, and about the relationship between the two. Because of the range and depth of human experience which these books reflect and evaluate, they serve especially well to contribute to a student's appreciation of the development of the intellectual and emotional capacities of the mind, and of social understanding. These courses all carry humanities distribution credit. Great Books 191 and 192 are ordinarily taken in sequence. Great Books 201 is a prerequisite for Great Books 202. There are no prerequisites for Great Books 203 or 221; Great Books 201 and 202, however, are recommended as preparation for Great Books 203. Great Books 221 Great Books of the Far East is offered only in the Winter Term; it is taught jointly by two professors, one in Chinese and one in Japanese, from the Department of Far Eastern Languages and Literatures. Great Books 391 (Great Books in Science), 392 (Great Books in the Social Sciences), and 393 (Great Books in the Humanities) are seminars offering students the opportunity to study in depth a single major text over a period of five weeks. These short courses earn one credit each; they may be repeated for up to a total of three credits each, with the permission of the Director of the Great Books program. For distribution purposes they are "not excluded. "

191, 192. Great Books. Open to Honors freshmen only. (4 each). (HU).

Only Great Books 191 will be offered Fall Term, 1981. Great Books 191 will survey the classical works of ancient Greece. Among the readings will be Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, a number of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, Herodotus' Histories, Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian Wars, and several of Plato's dialogues. The course format is two lectures and two discussion meetings a week. Six to eight short papers will be assigned; there will be midterm and final examinations. Students are expected to read The Odyssey before the start of the fall term; the Richmond Lattimore translation is recommended. The reading assignment for the first lecture of the fall term is books 1-8 of The Iliad, in the University of Chicago Press edition, translated by Richmond Lattimore. Great Books 191 is open to freshmen in the Honors Council, and to other students with the permission of the Director of the Great Books Program. (Hornback, Graf, Paslick, and others)

201, 202. Great Books. Open to freshmen and sophomores; upperclass students by permission of the instructor only; Gt. Bks. 201, or permission of instructor, is prerequisite to Gt. Bks. 202. (4 each). (HU).

Great Books 201 is offered Fall Term, 1982.

Section 001. This section will cover literature and philosophical and historical writings from the classical civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Readings will include such works as Homer's Iliad, plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, some of Plato's Socratic dialogues, and Vergil's Aeneid. Several short papers and a final examination. (Cloyd)

Section 002. In this section we will read a number of the great books of ancient Greece and Rome, all in modern translations. We will read in several different literary genres as well as in philosophical and historical texts. Among our texts will be the great epics of Homer and Vergil, the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, either Herodotus' Histories or Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and the Republic of Plato. Several fifteen-minute impromptu papers in class and a final examination will be required. (O'Neill)

Section 003. Who and what are we humans? Part of the answer to this question can be found in the "great books" we read in G. B. 201. In this class we will make living contact, through the best contemporary English translations, with the Graeco-Roman roots of Western Civilization. We will study and talk about Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; selected tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; broad selections in the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides; some of Plato's dialogues, including the Republic; an Aristophanic comedy or two; and Vergil's Aeneid. This is very much a literature with a public rather than a private voice, and its central concerns are ethical. Thus we will be wrestling with many moral questions and values, e.g., human responsibility, competitive versus cooperative virtues, the individual versus society, the good life. As well as attending and participating in class, students will write probably six two-page essays, a midterm, and a final examination. Students who are so inclined may purchase copies of the Richmond Lattimore translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and get a head start on the reading. (Wallin)

391. Great Books in Science. (1). (N. Excl). May be elected for a total of 3 credits.
Section 001 The Sea of Cortez: Steinbeck's Ethics.
This course on Steinbeck's ethics will survey his views on biological causality, social institutions, and moral obligation. Required reading: Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, and The Sea of Cortez. A term paper (1000-5000 words) will be required. A preliminary sample of at least two typed pages will be due on the day of the third class meeting. The finished paper will be due two weeks after the final meeting of the class. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, for we will deal with biological, social, and philosophical problems. The class will meet for five weeks beginning the week of October 4th and will meet on Thursdays from 10-12. (Piranian)

392. Great Books in the Social Sciences. (1). (N. Excl). May be elected for a total of 3 credits.
Section 001 Hitler's Mein Kampf.
Hitler's Mein Kampf is not a "great" book, but it has been provocative and influential, while its author was one of the shapers of twentieth-century history. In this course we will examine this book as the expression of German fascist ideology under such rubrics as its conceptions of history, politics, human nature, leadership, citizenship, and propaganda; we will also probe into its author's attitudes toward workers, intellectuals, capitalists, and other classes, as well as toward women, Jews, and neighboring nations. Students will be expected to have read the entire book (any of its German or English-language editions) before the first class meeting. Requirements: class participation and a five-ten page paper. The class will meet for five weeks beginning the week of October 4th and will meet on Thursdays from 2-4. (Meyer)

393. Great Books in Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts. (1). (N. Excl). May be elected for a total of 3 credits.
Section 001 Parade's End, by F. M. Ford.
Ford Madox Ford, follower of Henry James and collaborator with Conrad, began publishing his tetralogy, Parade's End, in 1924. It deals with World War I the horrors both physical and psychological of that cataclysm - but beyond that with the collapse of England and the reasons therefore. Yet Ford clearly indicates what hope remains after that cataclysm, hope in the strength of individual endeavor and the vitalizing strength of love. (A special note of interest for U. of M. students: Ford ended his career as a professor at Olivet College.) The course will depend on brief introductory lectures and, principally, on class discussion. There may be a short written exercise or two (a couple of pages each) and a term paper. The main requirement is that students be interested in a literary statement about our own times (really) and an optimistic view of its problems and be somewhat concerned about fiction as an artistic means of expression. The class will meet for five weeks beginning the week of October 4th and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2. (Powers)

Section 002 Virginia Woolf: Three Novels. A careful reading and discussion of Virginia Woolf's fictional career, concentrating on three novels: Mrs. Dalloway, To The Lighthouse, The Waves. A short paper will be expected. The class will meet for five weeks beginning the week of October 4th and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-11. (Gindin)

Section 003 Italo Calvino: A Writer for All Seasons. Through fantasy and Neo-Realism, critical essays and modern versions of fables, one of Europe's most accomplished contemporary narrators explores the vagaries of man's experience. Calvino's fiction ranges through science fiction and the tarot to smog, election fraud, and building speculation. Class discussion will focus on a reading of his famous short trilogy, Our Ancestors, which includes The Cloven Viscount, The Non-Existent Knight, and The Baron in the Trees. The class will meet for five weeks beginning the week of October 4th and will meet on Tuesdays from 2-4. (Olken)


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