Great Books

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 25, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 492 pages
In Great Books, Denby lives the common adult fantasy of returning to school with some worldly knowledge and experience of life. A gifted story-teller, he leads us on a glorious tour - by turns eloquent, witty, and moving - through the works themselves and through his experiences as a middle-aged man among freshmen. He recounts his failures and triumphs as a reader and student (taking an exam led to a hilarious near-breakdown). He celebrates his rediscovery or new appreciation of such authors as Homer, Plato, the biblical writers, Augustine, Boccaccio, Hegel, Austen, Marx, Nietzsche, and Virginia Woolf. He re-creates the atmosphere of the classroom - the strategies used by a remarkable group of teachers and the strengths and weaknesses of media-age students as they grapple with these difficult, sometimes frightening works. And all year long he watches the students grow and his own life and memories break out of hiding.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - greeniezona - LibraryThing

(review originally written for bookslut) Great Books by David Denby is by no means itself a great book, though it is entertaining enough, I suppose. Being the avid bookslut that I am, I am always ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ennie - LibraryThing

Film critic David Denby re-takes the Columbia College core courses 30 years later. I did finish this book, but skimmed over the discussion of the actual literature, which was just too intellectual for ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition 2005
1
Introduction to the First Edition 1996
15
Reading Lists
23
FIRST SEMESTER
27
Homer I
29
Sappho
52
Interlude One
60
Plato I
64
Examination
221
Winter Break
225
SECOND SEMESTER
227
Dante
229
Boccaccio
241
Hume and Kant
250
Interlude Six
267
Montaigne
269

Homer II
76
Interlude Two
88
Plato II
92
Sophocles
106
Aristotle
117
Interlude Three
128
Aeschylus and Euripides
131
Interlude Four
145
Virgil
146
The Old Testament
156
The New Testament
171
Augustine
185
Machiavelli
194
Interlude Five
202
Hobbes and Locke
206
Rousseau
278
Shakespeare
292
Hegel
309
Austen
325
Marx and Mill
338
Nietzsche
356
Interlude Seven
376
Beauvoir
380
Conrad
408
Woolf
430
Epilogue
459
Earlier Reading Lists
465
Selected Bibliography
467
Index
471
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

David Denby has been film critic of New York magazine since 1978, and is a contributing editor of The New Yorker. His reviews and essays have also appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the novelist Cathleen Schine. and their two sons.

Bibliographic information