Great Books Courses (Division 382)

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

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 WAR; 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. Great Books 191 is open to freshmen in the Honors Program, and to other students with the permission of the Director of the Great Books Program. (Cameron)

201. Great Books. Gt. Bks. 201 is not open to students who have taken Gt. Bks. 191 or Classical Civ. 101. (3). (HU).

SECTION 001. Unless you care to think and talk and write about such matters as friendship, honor, courage, loyalty, responsibility, human nature, love, death, identity, power, and justice, this course is not for you. If you do care about what is true or noble or good, you may enjoy the contacts we will make, through reading excellent English translations, with the Greek roots of Western Civilization. Our texts will include Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY (the Lattimore translations); selections from the HISTORIES of Herodotus; selected tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles; Aristophanes' comedy THE CLOUDS; a couple of Plato's shorter dialogues and the REPUBLIC. As well as attending and participating in class (enrollment limited to about 30), students will write 10 one-page papers, a midterm, and a final exam. (Wallin)

SECTION 002. This course will concentrate on one city Athens for about one century the Fifth, B.C. and the literature produced there (tragedy, comedy, history, and philosophy). But everything begins with Homer right? - and so shall we, with THE ILIAD, which sets the tone for what will follow in the course and in much of Greek culture. For contrast, we will consider JOB as an expression of some central values of a rival culture, the Judaeo-Christian. Then to Athens for the flowering of tragedy (Sophocles: ANTIGONE, OEDIPUS REX), comedy (Aristophanes: LYSISTRATA, CLOUDS), history (Thucydides: HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR), and philosophy (Plato: a few short dialogues and THE REPUBLIC). Finally, if time allows, we shall look to Rome and Lucretius' THE NATURE OF THINGS, a remarkably "modern" cosmology, but essentially a Latinated version of the ideas of a Greek philosopher, Epicurus. We shall explore both the intrinsic properties of these great works and their functions as cultural indices, considering not only what they reveal about the ancient world but also about ours. The format of the class will be primarily discussion, with a background lecture now and then. (Beauchamp)

291. Great Books of Modern Literature. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the College Honors Program. (4). (HU).

This course is designed to be a continuation of Great Books 192 for Honors sophomores primarily, and deals with books from the Renaissance to the present. Great Books 192 dealt thematically with the integration of the individual into larger institutions and traditions, and the sequel, Great Books 291, will deal with the subsequent resistance, repudiation, and withdrawal from such traditional communities. There will be two lectures and two recitations each week. The texts will be: Cervantes, DON QUIXOTE; Goethe, FAUST; Dostoevsky, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT; Flaubert, MADAME BOVARY; and either Melville, MOBY DICK or Twain, HUCKLEBERRY FINN. (Cameron, Casa, Amrine, Makin, Siebers, Weisbuch).

350. Great Books of the Founding Fathers. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (3). (HU).

"Great Books of the Founding Fathers" will explore the writings of the founding generation of the American Republic. The first third of the course will focus on pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary writings: Jefferson's SUMMARY VIEWS OF THE RIGHTS OF BRITISH AMERICA, John Dickinson's LETTERS FROM A PENNSYLVANIA FARMER, Thomas Paine's COMMON SENSE, the Declaration of Independence. It may be possible in this section, also, to include some brief selections from Locke, Montesquieu, and Adam Smith, in order to place American thought in its European context. The middle third of the course will focus on the creation of the Constitution, through a reading of Madison's NOTES ON THE DEBATES OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, and the FEDERALIST PAPERS. The final third will explore the Founding Fathers' conceptions of themselves and their world, by reading Jefferson's NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, and selections from his letters in the Koch and Paden edition, John Adams' AUTOBIOGRAPHY and perhaps the DISCOURSES ON DAVILA, Benjamin Franklin's AUTOBIOGRAPHY, and Washington's Farewell Address. I expect to require two shorter papers (5-10 pages), one due at the end of each of the first two sections of the course, and a final examination at the conclusion of the course. Enrollment will be limited to about 35 students, and the classes will rely upon discussion as much as possible. (Thornton)

393. Great Books in Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts. (1). (HU). May be elected for a total of 3 credits under different topics.

THE HISTORIES OF HERODOTUS. This short course will meet October 13 through November 15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 until 12 noon. Student grades will be based upon class participation, a short paper (4-6 pages), and an exam to be given in the last class meeting, Tuesday, November 15th. Our text will be the Penguin edition of Herodotus, THE HISTORIES, and we will study and talk about the whole book. We will attempt to understand how and why Herodotus gave meaning to the events of the sixth- and early fifth-century B.C. Greek world that he describes. We will talk about such questions as: What does it mean to call Herodotus "the father of history"? What role do the gods play in human affairs? (Is Herodotus a theological historian?) What is the role of chance? Why is war seen as the critical collective experience as Herodotus focuses on the Great Persian War? Does Homer influence Herodotus? We will talk a lot about Herodotus' view of what it means to be human, and his views on such values as freedom, responsibility, courage, justice, power, and goodness. Along the way we will also be entertained by such stories as those of Arion and the dolphin, the birth of Cyrus, the ring of Polycrates, how the Indians get their gold, and why the Scythians run away from battle when they see a rabbit. Herodotus will even tell us how to make a mummy and why the Persians finally chose "to live in a rugged land" rather than "to cultivate rich plains." These are just a few of the textual riches in this "great book" that we will be using to develop our skills of reading, interpretation, and criticism. (Wallin)


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