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.
191, 192. Great Books. Open to Honors freshmen only. (4 each). (HU).
Great Books 192 is offered Winter Term, 1984.
Great Books 192 explores the extension of the Greek tradition into the Judaeo-Christian tradition of Western European thought. The thematic backbone of the course will be the redemptive nature of time, and the opposition between the redemption of the community in history and the redemption of the individual soul. We will read: Plato, The Phaedo, The Symposium, and selections from The Republic; Vergil, The Aeneid; selections from the Bible; St. Augustine, The Confessions and selections from the City of God; Dante, The Divine Comedy. Because it is important for the history of English literature and the history of English style, the Authorized Version of the Bible, commonly called the King James Version, will be used for the Biblical selections. 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. (Cameron)
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, 1984.
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 contact, through excellent English translations, with the Graeco-Roman and the Judaeo-Christian roots of Western Civilization. We will read and talk about Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Hebrew epic of the Exodus, selected tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles, the book of Job, broad selections in the Histories of Herodotus, some of Plato's dialogues, including selections from the Republic; Vergil's epic of Rome, the Aeneid; one of the New Testament gospels (probably Mark); and St. Augustine, The Confessions. Because it is important for the history of English literature and the history of English style, the Authorized Version of the Bible, commonly called the King James Version, will be used for the Biblical selections. As well as attending and participating in class, students will write several short papers (total for the term of about 12-15 pages), a midterm, and a final exam. 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. The course will begin by examining the image of man as an aggressive individualist that began to emerge in the Renaissance, as reflected in Machiavelli's The Prince, More's Utopia, Shakespeare's King Lear and The Tempest. Subsequently we will consider variations on the theme of man's nature and some of the political and philosophical corollaries as reflected in both imaginative and theoretical literature, including Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Voltaire's Candide, Rousseau's The Social Contract, Marx's Communist Manifesto, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents. The class will be conducted primarily as a discussion. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, two papers, and two essay exams. (Beauchamp)
202. Section 002. 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, Part I, 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)
221. Great Books of the Far East. (4).
Section 001 – Great Books of China. An introduction to some of the great books that have exerted a commanding influence on the lives, thought, and literary experience of the Chinese people through the ages, and that have the power to delight or enlighten Western readers today. Readings will include selections from The Book of Changes and The Book of Songs; three Confucian texts of ethical, social, and political philosophy, The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean, and the Hsun Tzu; two texts of Taoist philosophy and mysticism, the Tao Te Ching and the Chuang Tzu; one wild Buddhist text about the experience of Ch'an or Zen enlightenment, The Record of Lin-chi; Monkey, a novel of myth, fantasy, comedy, and allegory; and The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber), a monument of fiction, set in the last high point of traditional Chinese civilization and depicting in vivid detail its splendor and decadence. The approach will be mainly literary, with glimpses of the social, intellectual, and cultural contexts. 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)
392. Great Books in the Social Sciences. (1).
(N. Excl). May be elected for a total of 3 credits.
Section 001 – ADAM SMITH'S THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. In this one-credit course, which will meet January 10-31 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 until 8: 30, about three-fourths of the book (in Modern Library edition, hardback, $7.95) will be read. Expect some surprises, whether you are conservative or radical. Economics 201 is helpful for perspective, but it is not a prerequisite. Format will be lecture with as much discussion as the class size permits. Occasional brief quizzes at the start of class to assist your good intentions on the reading; and a short (5-10 pages) paper at the end of the course – an analysis of a contemporary policy problem written with the economic perspective and literary style that Smith would have used. The final grade will be based on attendance (20%), quiz grades (30%), and the final paper (50%). The course is jointly offered as Economics 499, Section 015 and may be elected in that way by students who wish their one credit to count toward an Economics concentration. (Porter)
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