There are two sets of Great Books courses: Great Books 191 and 192, a two-term sequence for Honors freshmen, and Great Books 201, 202, 203, and 221, a set of four courses primarily for freshman and sophomores, but open to upperclassmen as well.
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.
191, 192. Great Books. Open to Honors freshmen only. (4 each). (HU).
Great Books 192 is offered Winter Term, 1983.
Students in Great Books 192 will read seven major masterpieces: Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, Cervantes' Don Quixote, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Goethe's Faust, and Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The assignment for the first lecture is Books 1-4 of the Aeneid (Copley translation); students are encouraged to begin their reading during vacation. Some background reading in the Bible - including Genesis, Exodus, and Luke's Gospel – is recommended, and should be prepared for the first class day. Great Books 192 is open only to freshmen in the Honors Council; other students wishing to take a similar course are encouraged to elect Great Books 202. (Hornback)
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 and 202 are offered Winter Term, 1983.
201, Section 001. 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 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; 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)
202, Section 001. Careful reading and discussion of European masterpieces of literature, "great books" which have influenced men's ideas for centuries, and which most people intend to read "sometime," but won't. Texts to be studied include Dante: The Divine Comedy; Machiavelli: The Prince; Shakespeare: Richard II, Henry IV, pt. 1, The Tempest; Milton: Paradise Lost; and Cervantes: Don Quixote. We will read and we will talk about what we read. Students are evaluated on class performance, approximately three papers, a midterm, and a final exam. (Cloyd)
203. Great Books of the Modern World. Open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors; seniors by permission of instructor. (4). (HU).
In this course we will read and discuss great books of the modern era dealing with the problem of alienation as it relates to four major themes: man's alienation from nature; his estrangement from his fellow man; his sense of separation from the past and finally his own growing awareness of the division within himself. We will approach these four related themes from a variety of standpoints ranging from 18th-century philosophy and fiction to 20th-century drama and psychology. Our hope here is that through close textual analysis we will be better able to view these works not solely as classics in their field but as vital expressions of an ongoing tradition which has formed the consciousness of the modern age. Heavy emphasis will be placed on reading and analyzing the given texts and reflecting on them in classroom discussion as well as in written assignments (two short five-page essays, a midterm and final). Readings include: J.J. Rousseau, Discourses; Goethe, Sorrows of Young Werther; short selections from Romantic poets (Keats, Wordsworth); Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Karl Marx, The Young Marx; F. Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground; Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra; S. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist; S. Beckett, Waiting for Godot. (Bambach)
221. Great Books of the Far East. (4). (HU).
An introduction to some of the great books that have exerted a commanding influence on the lives, thought, and literary experience of the Chinese and Japanese people through the ages, and that have the power to delight or enlighten Western readers today. Texts will include two monuments of fiction, The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber) and The Tale of Genji, set in two high points of these great civilizations and depicting in vivid detail their splendor and decadence. Other Chinese readings will include two Confucian texts of social and political philosophy; one mystical Taoist text; one wild Buddhist text about the experience of enlightenment; selections from The Book of Songs; and Monkey, a novel of myth, fantasy, comedy, and allegory. Other Japanese readings will include a samurai code; a Kabuki play; some poetry; one superb modern novel, Natsume Soseki's Kokoro, about Japanese society in rapid and painful transition; and several shorter modern masterpieces of fiction. The approach will be mainly literary, with glimpses of the social, intellectual, and cultural context. Class time will be devoted to close reading and detailed discussion of texts. Occasional short written assignments, two brief papers, and a final examination are required. (Lin and Sparling)
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