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    Description

    The major texts of Western culture are a gateway to wisdom that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways. The extraordinary body of literature given us by writers from antiquity to the present day, as Professor Weinstein notes, "is potent stuff, serving not only as transcription of history but also as a verbal 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."

    It is truly a monumental legacy. And now you can examine its most important works - whether drama, poetry, or narrative - in this series of 64 penetrating lectures that reveal astonishing common ground. You'll see how this award-winning teacher uses several different analytical perspectives, including Feminism, Marxism, Freudianism, Deconstruction, Postmodernism, and New Historicism, to give us fresh insight into persisting human themes like rites of passage; the "fit" or "misfit" between self and society; the creation of an identity; and the play, weight, and presence of the past in understanding our present.

    You learn how drama makes visible the conflicts and wars of culture in ways other forms cannot manage. How poetry can go to the heart of human existence with a purity and power akin to surgery, bidding us to challenge and change the way we usually do business. And how narrative can tell life stories in ways that enable a possession of that life that is hardly imaginable any other way.

    PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

    ©1995 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1995 The Great Courses

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative

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    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • AnneN
    • 05/08/2014

    Great Course, Great Professor, Great Book!

    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recommended to several friends and my family; Prof. Weinstein is a thoughtful, intelligent and humorous teacher.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative?

    Prof. Weinstein's reading I Am Ceded by Dickinson.

    Which character – as performed by Professor Arnold Weinstein – was your favorite?

    Walt Whitman

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed, I cried, and I will listen to it again.

    Any additional comments?

    I am an old English major, retired librarian, and this was the best course I have ever taken. Thank you for offering it and thank you Professor Weinstein.

    43 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • justme
    • 10/05/2017

    Shockingly Good

    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    30-years ago, I read a few of these books in college. After hearing the lectures on those books, it's as if I was hearing about them for the first time. I was stunned stupid, and eager for more insight.
    --> Oedipus: Aristotle's "tragic flaw" is an adolescent understanding...go deeper to see everyman's struggle against fate and self-knowledge. Maybe the worst unmasking is the mask that we didn't know we are wearing. We think the answer to the riddle of the sphynx is that man crawls in infancy, walks in mid-life, and walks with a cane before death. But the reality is more grueling: at the end of life, we are blinded by the self-knowledge that pains us so -- it's not a cane, but someone we're leaning on to lead us in our blindness.
    --> Othello: Men fear women's sexuality & harbor a double-standard in that they feel they own their woman's body but do not feel their own body is owned by their partner.
    --> Tartuffe: Really? What kind of deep insight can he possible give here? More than I was ready for. Where am I so blindly loyal to someone that it would take him disrobing my wife on the kitchen table for me to overcome my blindness? Isn't that exactly what's happening in U.S. politics in 2017? He translates this "comedy" from the trite to the profound.

    And that was just the first series of lectures. He gives three lectures per work. And I've got to tell you, I was really uncomfortable by lecture three on each of the three topics above. He was under my skin. He had questioning some of my own essential understandings about life. I think that's the point, and he makes that point very well.

    Have you listened to any of Professor Arnold Weinstein’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    My first one, and I'm going to buy others. Anyone this insightful is a pleasure to learn from.

    24 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • michael
    • 23/12/2015

    Extraordinary insight. A work of professorial art.

    Would you consider the audio edition of Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative to be better than the print version?

    Absolutely. The professor lectures in his southern accent but does a phenomenal job of mimicking speech as he recites texts from diverse sources.

    What did you like best about this story?

    There was a consistent theme of "finding ones own voice" throughout.

    What does Professor Arnold Weinstein bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His passion, his focus, his voice, especially the latter: he can blend in to his object of interest so well as to transmit its essence to the listener, as if the listener were discovering it on his or her own.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    By no means. This is one which ought to be interrupted by forays into source texts.

    15 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • J.B.
    • 28/10/2017

    Good but Lacking in Giddiness

    Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative, The Great Courses, Lecturer, Professor Arnold Weinstein. This is a three-part course. The first third is dedicated performing theater. The second course educates one on poetry and the third, the novel. I could not image a more enjoyable course of study then to talk about great literature and how it communicates life concepts. Professor Weinstein is, certainly, a thorough and substantial thinker into each system of communication, styles of writing, the purpose of the plot and how the story is told. Even if you resist, you cannot help coming away from this study a much deeper reader. You undoubtedly will enjoy your literature thereafter better.

    I learned more about Oedipus than I realized was there in my prior three readings of the play. Walt Whitman, was revealed, and I now know how to marvel at his works (although I am still practically a dysfunctional reader of poetry). I have never read Faulkner, but after Professor Weinstein’s insights I will and look forward to the reading. Each category of play, poetry and novel, has a review of several important authors, a breakdown of their style and their influence on literature through time. Each study is an in-depth view of the focused upon work. Interesting structural presentation.

    Yet, and I am sorry to provide this conditional limit to my praise of the work, Professor Weinstein is not a good lecturer. This is almost 33 hours of listening. I love considering literature and its communicative functions, but to me this book felt like it was 99 hours. The study was laborious to listen to. Yet, much to learn, and the lecturer is inciteful, if you can bear trudging along. I would only recommend to those who are seriously committed to English literature as a profession. As a learning experience; pretty good. Stated colloquially, it lacks the giddiness one should get from leaning.

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    • Patricia
    • 20/03/2015

    What a PrivilegeTyp

    I wasn't the best student, so the hallowed halls of the Ivy League wouldn't be open to someone like me. That makes this series of lectures so profound. It's as if I met a whole new world of depth and thought. All I really want to say is thank you.

    23 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • N. Kerr
    • 09/04/2018

    Gifted Professor, Brilliant Curriculum!

    What made the experience of listening to Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative the most enjoyable?

    Professor Weinstein is exceptionally interesting, insightful, and articulate. His presentation style is natural, knowledgeable, and thought-provoking.

    What did you like best about this story?

    With every creative work he discussed, I had an "ah-ha" moment -- and new perspective, understanding, or appreciation I didn't have prior to the course. My life is richer because of Professor Weinstein's expertise and excellent teaching.

    What does Professor Arnold Weinstein bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His choice of words, sentence structure, and personality enthralled me every lecture. The expanse of his knowledge is astounding! Listening to him highlights his humor and delight, emphasis on key elements, and even biases.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    About halfway through my first class by Professor Weinstein, I jumped back onto Audible to order other Great Courses he teaches. He's that powerful and profound. I want to be his student and seize every opportunity to learn from his great mind and experience!

    Any additional comments?

    I'm hooked on The Great Courses! I listen during my daily 30 minute walk; often I'm so absorbed in the topic I circle around the block one more time. It's empowering - and a modern day blessing - to have access to credible instruction by the world's greatest scholars on a vast range of meaningful topics.

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    • Amazon Customer
    • 11/10/2019

    Fails to deliver on its promise

    The description of the course promises "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", and reading the full description hints even more strongly to a course that will provide the listener with tools to understand and analyse literature. In practice, however, the course is a stroll through an anthology of works (which, like every anthology, makes its own choices, which are at some cases odd) that is organized somewhat chronologically, but without any other meaningful order. During the lectures we are hearing a summary of the novel, poem or play, and dwell on some (usually uninteresting) minutia the professor chose to focus on. What I expected to get but did not were tools and approaches in literary critique - when dealing with Sonnets there was nothing about the structure of the sonnet (rhyming scheme, meaning in each structural part, the difference between the Shakespearean and the Petrarchan sonnet, nothing about what is a metaphor and how it is used, nothing about reading strategies such as close reading, reader's response, and subversive reading, during the entire part on novels and narrative (I still have about an hour of listen, I don't expect any change), not even a mention of fabula and sujet, narrator types, or almost anything else. The one single exception to that is the mention of the picaresque novel, which looks like an attempt to draw the development of the novel, but this effort stops immediately after this short mention. All in all, if this was a course titled "a tour through works of literary significance" it would have been completely acceptable course (Though, as mentioned, some of the choices are questionable). But for something that promises to provide the listener with tools to understand literature, it is a complete failure

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    • SAMA
    • 14/02/2014

    Could have been more

    This is an analysis of a select few classic literary works and discussing the themes within it to a contemporary audience, with a consideration of the societal elements present when it was written.

    It could have been doubled in length and not have covered everything available to analyse. It is an excellent, ambitious attempt in a subject that is massive in scope.

    21 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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    • Rubin
    • 17/07/2015

    The Best on My List

    What did you love best about Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative?

    This is the best course I've listened to so far--intensely interesting topics, captivating teaching style and beautifully written lecture full of thought provoking ideas,. I finished the course within a week, often forgetting what I was doing. I cannot wait to listen to this course again.

    6 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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      1 out of 5 stars
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    • Amazon Customer
    • 11/03/2020

    Freud

    This professor is a big proponent for Freudian interpretation. I struggled to make it through this series, and did not finish the only other series of his that I purchased. I can understand, and agreed with the Freudian interpretation of a few of the pieces covered in this series, but was blown away by how many pieces were analyzed through this lens. My experience with this professor has been that he is very heavily biased towards this psychologists beliefs, and seems reluctant to entertain other interpretations of these great classics.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Christina
    • 15/06/2017

    Sehr umfassende Vorlesung über Literatur

    Die Vorlesung gibt einen umfassenden Einblick nicht nur in Romane sondern auch in Drama und Poesie. Professor Weinstein präsentiert dies kurzweilig und mit durchaus neuen Ansatzpunkten. Was zu kurz kommt ist die im Titel angedeutete Dimension Understanding ... Life. Es geht ja tatsächlich um die Werke und nur selten um die Auswirkung auf das wirkliche Leben, vielleicht mit der Ausnahme, dass er immer wieder betont, dass die Sprache der Schlüssel dazu ist, Herr über das eigene Leben zu werden.

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    • Andreas Flint
    • 12/10/2017

    generally good

    I was not sure what to expect - so I cannot pinpoint what I feel is missing to give it 5 stars.