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Publisher's Summary

What if you could travel anywhere, whether Europe, South America, or the remote reaches of the African continent? And what if you could choose not only your destination, but your era, as well - so that you might choose from the sparkling court society of 18th-century France, a 19th-century whaling ship out of New Bedford, or the streets of Dublin in the early part of the 20th century? And what about the most remarkable journey of all: the voyage inside the mind of another human being, in which you plumb the thoughts and emotions that usually remain hidden deep within?What remarkable secrets would you learn about the puzzling, sometimes shocking thing we call human nature? The lives lived in distant lands and eras? And, most important, ourselves-the human race of which you are a part?

If you're a serious reader, you already know that these are the kinds of adventures that await you in the classic novels of great literature. And if you're not, the 36 spellbinding lectures of this series, delivered by a gifted and prize-winning teacher, might just convince you why you ought to be, as you take an epic journey through three centuries, sojourn in foreign lands, and enter remarkable realms of the imagination.

The lectures take you beyond what is often offered in literary courses-plots, anecdotes, facts about where and when a novel was written. Instead, you'll gain something far more profound: an opportunity to experience the startling brilliance that makes each of these works-from geniuses like Dickens, Joyce, Tolstoy, Balzac, Proust, and many others-a classic.

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

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Classic Novels: Meeting the Challenge of Great Literature

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  • Overall
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  • W Perry Hall
  • 2014-01-31

No Course Credit; Just Ivy League Lit Appreciation

You love books and majored in business or medicine or dropped out of school to become a multi-millionaire salesmen?

Now, you just wish you had paid more attention and that you would have taken that American or British Lit course instead of taking the easier route?

If so, or if you just love lit and don't care if you'd taken it in college or not, this is a perfect chance to listen to hours and hours of a mild-mannered but lively Ivy League (Brown) professor Arnold Weinstein searching the meaning and imparting his knowledge of many of the Classic Novels.

If you haven't read a lot of these novels, don't worry. For a few I hadn't read, Professor Weinstein inspired me to read these books and his teaching method doesn't require you to have read these to enjoy the course.

I'd definitely recommend the Professor Weinstein lit courses. I've bought all of them and I'd say that just an hour or so out of the course's many is worth what you'll spend to make the purchase.

62 people found this helpful

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  • ArmyVet64
  • 2020-03-01

A Hard Slog

Generally, I enjoy the Great Courses, but this one was a hard slog. Weinstein goes on and on and on ad nauseam about fairly minor points. Furthermore, he applies today’s morality, or rather the fanatical political correctness that has infected academia, to books written decades or centuries ago. Take a pass on this one.

28 people found this helpful

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  • daofpaul
  • 2015-12-13

Excellent summary.

What did you like about this audiobook?

Getting an expert's summary on these books was enlightening for me. I was looking for which ones to read or re-read so this is also a great way to decide which classic might fit my next few choices in audio books. There is also something about these old school professors which can't be replicated. I ran this at 2 and 3 times speed and kept up with it so the listener can go through the 36 lectures quickly. Enjoy.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Terese
  • 2018-05-30

Engaging lecturer, great books

Except for the pronounciation during the Dostoyevsky section there is no fault here. Fun, engaging and erudite. I had read most of these and I would, depending on your preference, reading first and then listen to let the lecture enhance your understanding or maybe inspire a re-read. I think you’ll still enjoy the books, even if you listen first though...maybe that order would have helped me like Ulysses, because not even this course spending three lectures on it improved my experience of it.

Either way, I recommend this to anyone interested in literature because it is accessible and makes you think.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Katie G
  • 2016-03-08

Transformative

Insightful, erudite, and eloquent, Professor Weinstein is an artist in his own right. He has to be the best Great Courses lecturer.

12 people found this helpful

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  • rugger
  • 2015-05-21

What do the classics teach us about the present?

As Professor Weinstein points out "classic" usually refers to something we were once forced to read or still avoid. But give him a chance and he will bring what we think of as dead letters to life. And how vivid these stories are, each giving us insight into our lives today.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Jane Pabst
  • 2017-07-13

Extremely well done but rather gruesome and brutal

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

I would not have picked the books he did. I would have liked things that were more upbeat. He did show reality in different times and places.His commentary was always more enlightening that the books themselves.

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

no. But I really got a lot out of his point of view and descriptions.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Holly H
  • 2016-07-18

Good overview of great literature

This lecture series unpacks some of the great novels every literate person should read. it has motivated me to read or re-read many of them with the new insights I've gained.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Blue
  • 2020-01-22

Engaging

I really enjoyed this course. The professor’s insights were interesting and intelligent. I feel that because I listened to this I have a better understanding of literature as a whole. He was also easy to understand. I didn’t have to rewind to catch a word or idea.

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  • Jose Gerardo Gonzalez Jimenez
  • 2019-02-01

toooooo dense for me.

If you are not a fan of literature, Probably this is not the book for you. however, you can learn a lot from this audio.

1 person found this helpful