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TTC VIDEO - Understanding Literature and Life - Drama, Poetry and Narrative (2010)

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TTC VIDEO - Understanding Literature and Life - Drama, Poetry and Narrative (2010)

TTC VIDEO - Understanding Literature and Life - Drama, Poetry and Narrative (2010)
DVD-Rip | AVI | XviD MPEG4 @ 1 Mbit/s | 640x480 | MP3 Stereo @ 128 Kbit/s 48 KHz | 32 Hours | 12 GB
Genre: Literature, Drama, Poetry & Narrative | Label: The Great Courses | Language: English

This course is an introduction to the major texts of Western culture. Ranging from antiquity to the present, it places special emphasis on several of literature's most important aspects: The uniqueness of literary language, The formal and generic conventions of literary production, The position that literature occupies as a site for historical and ideological forces and conflicts, The continuing human significance of the great works of the past and the present. All too often, people fail to give the great books the attention they deserve. They might feel locked out of these masterpieces because they believe themselves unequipped to savor their richness. Or they might feel that great literature has only some antiquarian or museum value.
TTC VIDEO - Understanding Literature and Life - Drama, Poetry and Narrative (2010)

TTC VIDEO - Understanding Literature and Life - Drama, Poetry and Narrative (2010)

This course is an introduction to the major texts of Western culture.

Ranging from antiquity to the present, it places special emphasis on several of literature's most important aspects:

The uniqueness of literary language
The formal and generic conventions of literary production
The position that literature occupies as a site for historical and ideological forces and conflicts
The continuing human significance of the great works of the past and the present.


All too often, people fail to give the great books the attention they deserve.

They might feel locked out of these masterpieces because they believe themselves unequipped to savor their richness. Or they might feel that great literature has only some antiquarian or museum value.

A Gratifying and Enlightening Experience

This course empowers you to enter into these great works of the past. Taught by an extraordinary scholar and educator, it is a gratifying experience that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways.

Dr. Arnold Weinstein of Brown University has been honored as Brown's Best Teacher in the Humanities and has studied and taught at major universities all over the world.

His remarkable ability to make a writer's voice come alive makes this one of our most exciting literature courses. And he has made a point of creating a wide-ranging, enriching experience.

The course has been designed to exhibit not only the themes and techniques of great literature but also to expose both the power and limitations of several different analytic tools in assisting our understanding of these monuments of the human spirit, including:

Feminism
Marxism
Freudianism
Deconstruction
Close reading.


A Pandora's Box of "Potent Stuff"

"Literature—that of the past and that of the present—is potent stuff," says Professor Weinstein, serving not only as transcription of history but also as a literary Pandora's box, capable of shedding light on those transactions which remain in the dark for many of us: love, death, fear, desire.

"We are talking about more than artful language; we are talking about the life of the past and the life of the world."

These lectures with Professor Weinstein examine great works in the three forms of literary expression: drama, poetry, and narrative.

Understanding Drama

The lectures on drama begin with the pre-eminent text of Western culture, Sophocles's Oedipus the King, continue through Shakespeare and Molière, and then go on to the realist and naturalist work of the 19th century, closing with Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

Theater itself is a profoundly social art form. It possessed a religious character for the Greeks and its staging of values and crises are still resonant today.

The sequence of plays discussed thus illuminate for us the changing notions of "representative man," from Sophocles's king to Beckett's clowns.

You learn that theatrical literature makes visible the conflicts and wars of culture in ways other forms cannot manage, because theater is founded on the agon, the struggle between disparate subjectivities and voices.

Notions of self, human relationship, and meaningful action are debated, forged, actualized, and undone before our very eyes. This enables a holistic and environmental picture of life that we do not have in our daily affairs.

Understanding Poetry

Poetry is at once the most artful and most elemental form of literature.

Its conventions of rhyme, meter, metaphor, and the like distinguish poetry unmistakably from the prose we use all the time. It enables it to go to the heart of human existence with a purity and power akin to surgery.

It is truly a privileged form of expression, a mode of discovery that bids to challenge and change the way we customarily do business.

The means by which it gains its remarkable power include its:

"Thickened" language
Economy of verse
Startling vistas of metaphor and simile
Play of rhythm
Sheer concentration of vision.


Portraits of Private Psyche and Public Setting

From Shakespeare's sonnets through the great poets of our own times, Dr. Weinstein demonstrates what a bristling human document the poem can be and how it offers a unique portrait of private psyche and public setting.

More than any other art form, poetry captures the dance of the human mind. It displays for us the way meanings are made and makes us understand just how precious a resource language itself is in our lives.

Understanding Narrative

Narrative is doubtless the most familiar form of literary expression, since everyone reads, or used to read, novels.

The perspective of this section is long-range, with the lectures beginning with a medieval Arthurian romance and closing with Alice Walker's The Color Purple.

The varied list of works includes:

The picaresque classic, The Swindler
The 18th-century saga of a self-made woman, Moll Flanders
Classic coming-of-age stories by Dickens and Brontë
Metaphysical probes by Melville and Kafka
Faulkner's The Bear, which asks painful questions about race and progress.


The lectures reveal some astonishing common ground, including the emphasis on rites-of-passage; the fit or misfit between self and society; the creation of an identity; and the weight and presence of the past.

You learn that narrative is especially constituted to convey the curve of time in human life; the central business of the novel is to tell the life story, enabling a possession of that life that is hardly imaginable any other way.

Encounter Works of Undisputed Value

Though notions of "completeness" and coverage make little sense in a course such as this, the texts chosen are of undisputed literary and historical value and place particular emphasis on the English and American traditions.

Dr. Weinstein's approach to each of these works is multifaceted, including:

Acquaintance with the historical moment
Introduction to the verbal and formal features of the work
Close study of both the artist's craft and the larger meanings of the text
Final consideration of the "life" of the text
Its analogues in other cultures
Its continued vitality in other times.


This course is meant to widen your view by using single texts as touchstones for other texts and other moments.

A Dialogue of Books Across the Centuries

Reading great literature makes it possible to grasp something of the march and struggles of history and to apprehend the contours of a second history—a history composed of books that signal to one another and that are revisited and replayed throughout the centuries.

"Civilization and its discontents" is Freud's term for the external and internal warfare and policing that characterize the work of culture.

These lectures show that works of art give us vital testimony about the actual cost of civilization—about the tensions between anarchy and order and between experience and language.

"It should be no surprise," notes Dr. Weinstein, "that literature is a privileged locus for these conflicts, conflicts that we would scarcely understand at all if it were not for the record provided by art.

"The study of literature, then, must be both microscopic and macroscopic, attuned to the nuances and craft of artistic packaging no less than the larger philosophical and socio-political forces that attend human life."
Course Lecture Titles

64 Lectures
30 minutes / lecture

01. Why Literature—Civilization and Its Discontents
02. Oedipus the King and the Nature of Greek Tragedy
03. Fate and Free Will—Reading the Signs in Oedipus
04. Self-making vs. Self-discovery in Oedipus
05. The Interpretive Afterlife of Oedipus
06. Shakespeare's Othello—Tragedy of Marriage and State
07. Poison in the Ear, or the Dismantling of Othello
08. Rethinking Othello—Race, Gender and Subjectivity
09. French Theater and Moliere's Comedy of Vices
10. Tartuffe and Varieties of Imposture
11. Religious Hypocrisy—Beyond Comedy
12. Georg Büchner—Physician, Revolutionary, Playwright
13. Woyzeck the Proletarian Murderer—"Unaccommodated Man"
14. Woyzeck and Visionary Theater
15. Strindberg's Father—Patriarchy in Trouble
16. Marriage—Theatrical Agon or Darwinian Struggle?
17. The Father—From Theater of Power to Power of Theater
18. Beckett's Godot—Chaplinesque or Post-nuclear?
19. Beckett and the Comedy of Undoing
20. Godot Absent—Didi and Gogo Present
21. Study of Literature—Approaches, Encounters, Departures
22. Shakespeare's Sonnets—The Glory of Poetry
23. The Shape of Love and Death in Shakespeare's Sonnets
24. Innocence and Experience in William Blake
25. Blakean Fables of Desire
26. Blake—Visionary Poet
27. Whitman and the Making of an American Bard
28. "Myself" as Whitman's Nineteenth-Century American Hero
29. Form and Flux, Openness and Anxiety in Whitman's Poetry
30. Emily Dickinson—The Prophetic Voice from the Margins
31. Dickinson and the Poetry of Consciousness
32. Dickinson—Death and Beyond
33. Baudelaire—The Setting of the Romantic Sun
34. Baudelaire's Poetry of Modernism and Metropolis
35. Robert Frost—The Wisdom of the People
36. Frost—The Darker View
37. Wallace Stevens and the Modernist Movement
38. Stevens and the Post-Romantic Imagination
39. Adrienne Rich and the Poetry of Protest
40. Rich's Project—Diving into the Wreck of Western Culture
41. The Lives of the Word—Reading Today
42. Chretien de Troyes' Yvain—Growing Up in the Middle Ages
43. Yvain's Theme—Ignorant Armies Clash By Night
44. The Picaresque Novel—Satire, Filth and Hustling
45. Francisco Quevedo's Swindler—The Word on the Street
46. Daniel Defoe's Plain Style and the New World Order
47. Moll Flanders and the Self-made Woman
48. Matter and Spirit in Defoe
49. Dickens—The Novel as Moral Institution
50. Pip's Progress—From Blacksmith to Snob and Back
51. Riddles of Identity in Great Expectations
52. Charlotte Brontë and the Bildungsroman
53. Jane Eyre—Victorian Bad Girl Makes Good
54. The Madwoman in the Attic—19th Century Bills Coming Due
55. Melville's "Bartleby" and the Genesis of Character
56. "Bartleby"—Christ on Wall Street?
57. Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis"—Sacrifice or Power Game?
58. Kafka's "In the Penal Colony"—The Writing Machine
59. Faulkner's "The Bear"—Stories of White and Black
60. "The Bear"—American Myth or American History?
61. Tracking the Bear, or Learning to Read
62. Alice Walker's Celie—The Untold Story
63. Ideology as Vision in The Color Purple
64. Reconceiving Center and Margin

TTC VIDEO - Understanding Literature and Life - Drama, Poetry and Narrative (2010)