Great Books Courses (Division 382)

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

Throughout the rest of your education people will assume you know and have thought about the books in this course. These are the books from ancient Greece that allow you access to all subsequent conversation about the human condition, because they have posed the great problems in an unforgettable way. 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. (Hanson)

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; and 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. Because who we are and what we are is in large measure shaped by what we have received from ancient Greece and Rome and Israel, the person who would know of himself or herself will wish to know something of these cultures through their writings. We will in this course study some of those writings by reading and discussing Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY; the ORESTEIA of Aeschylus; Sophocles' OEDIPUS THE KING; two of Plato's Socratic dialogues; the book of Genesis, Exodus, Job, and one of the Gospels from the King James translation of the Bible; Virgil's AENEID. Thus we will have something of Greece and Roman and Hebraic epic, tragedy, philosophy. Assigned written work will be frequent and brief; evaluation will include these, class participation, one midterm, and one final exam. Students who wish to do so may get an early start on the course by obtaining and reading in R. Latimore's translation of the ILIAD and ODYSSEY. (McNamara)

Section 003. In this course you will read, discuss, and write about a number of books that have achieved a very special standing in our culture. Written two thousand years ago for audiences with backgrounds and expectations totally unlike our own, these books have preserved their value and importance with ease. Because they force us to consider important questions and values, because they make us think about the kind of persons we are or want to be, these books are as much our heritage as the rules of arithmetic. I want you to become comfortable reading some of these books and eager to use them in forming your own education. The works we will read will include Homer's ILIAD, the history of Herodotus, some Greek dramatists, and Plato. Besides the readings and class discussions, you will be responsible for two short essays, an hour exam, and the final. (Lindner)

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

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, Adorno, Amrine, Makin, Siebers).

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

SECTION 001 SOPHOCLEAN TRAGEDY. This short course will meet October 12 through November 14 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 until 12 noon. Student grades will be based upon class participation, four one-page papers, and an exam to be given in the last class meeting, Tuesday, November 14th. Our two texts will be: Sophocles, THE THREE THEBAN TRAGEDIES (Penguin edition, translation by R. Fagles) and SOPHOCLES II. FOUR TRAGEDIES (University of Chicago paperback). We will read, discuss, interpret, and criticize all seven of these extant tragedies of the central figure among the three great Greek tragedians. The nineteenth-century poet Matthew Arnold described Sophocles as a man who "saw life steadily and saw it whole" but also as one who heard "the eternal note of sadness" and was preeminently sensitive to "the turbid ebb and flow of human misery." We will explore such themes as human freedom and responsibility, necessity, time, and change. Oedipus, Ajax, Antigone, Electra, Philoctetes, Creon, and others and their choices will hold our attention as we try to understand the nature of tragedy as Sophocles wrote it. (Wallin)


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