Great Books Courses (Division 382)

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

Great Books 192 explores the extension of the Greek tradition into the Judaeo-Christian tradition of Western European thought. We will read: Plato, The Phaedo and The Symposium; Vergil, The Aeneid; selections from the Bible; Dante, The Inferno and select cantos from The Purgatorio and The Paradiso; Machiavelli; More; Boccaccio; and a few plays of Shakespeare. 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. (Wallin, Peters, Williams, Beauchamp, and others)

202 Great Books. (3). (HU).
Section 001.
This course will examine the new image of man that began to emerge in the Renaissance and some of its social and political implications as these are reflected in some of the great literary and political works of the last five centuries. The works to be read include Machiavelli's The Prince, More's Utopia, Montaigne's Essays, Shakespeare's King Lear, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Rousseau's Social Contract, Marx's Communist Manifesto, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Balzac's Pere Goriot, and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Class format will combine lecture and discussion. Grades will be based on class participation, three hourly exams (essay), and a term paper. (Beauchamp).

Section 002. Our journey begins in an ancient world: first, Rome and the reading of Vergil's epic, The Aeneid, and then Israel and readings from the New Testament Gospels. We will then turn to a study of two of the greatest works of the Middle Ages, Saint Augustine's Confessions and Dante's Divine Comedy. After a midterm exam and a week of Spring Recess, we return to engage two masterpieces from the Renaissance, Cervantes' novel Don Quixote and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Finally, our journey will take us to the Ages of Neoclassicism (Voltaire's ultimate hard-luck story, his comic satire Candide), and Romanticism (Goethe's passionate short novel The Sorrows of Young Werther), and Realism and Naturalism (the American Kate Chopin's The Awakening). Unless you care to think and talk and write about such matters as responsibility, courage, honor, friendship, loyalty, love, justice, goodness, power, faith, piety, and death, this journey is not for you. If you do care about what is true or noble or good, you may enjoy the contacts we will make along our way. These great books, if you choose, may become an integral part of the individual you who travels his or her separate way after our common journey's end. As well as attending to and participating in the journey, students will write probably three short papers (total for the term of about ten pages), a midterm, and a final exam. (Wallin)

Section 003. Description unavailable at publication deadline. See Vicki in 2016 Angell Hall for later information. (Parnes)

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 selections from The Book of Songs; two Confucian texts of social and political philosophy; one mystical Taoist text; one wild Buddhist text about the experience of enlightenment; and The Travels of Lao Ts'an, a classic novel about the crisis China was in at the turn of the century. Other Japanese readings will include some classical poetry; a tenth-century woman's record of her own marriage; a travel journal by the haiku poet Matsuo Basho; a pair of novels portraying families in the context of social change by two of modern Japan's masters of fiction, Natsume Soseki and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro; and Ibuse Masuji's Black Rain, a novel documenting the bombing of Hiroshima. Occasional short written assignments, two brief papers, and a final examination are required. (Brower and Lin)

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

MANZONI'S I PROMESSI SPOSI (THE BETROTHED). One novel written in the early 19th century served as the principle foundation of modern Italian literature and even of the language itself: Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed). Unlike most of the literature that followed, this was an historical novel set in the romantic past; yet it addressed many of the most important issues of its own time ethical and personal issues, individualism and family duty, the role of religion, relations between classes, what it meant to be Italian, and whether an Italian nation could be created. In this short course we will explore Manzoni's achievement through discussion of the novel itself and of its cultural context. (Five weeks on Wednesdays, 1-3 PM, January 15 through February 19.) (Grew)


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