Classics of British Literature : The Great Courses: English Literature

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor John Sutherland
  • Series: The Great Courses: English Literature
  • 24 hrs and 16 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For more than 1,500 years, the literature of Great Britain has taught, nurtured, thrilled, outraged, and humbled readers both inside and outside its borders.
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Swift, Conrad, Wilde - the roster of powerful British writers is remarkable. More important, Britain's writers have long challenged readers with new ways of understanding an ever-changing world.
This series of 48 fascinating lectures by an award-winning professor provides you with a rare opportunity to step beyond the surface of Britain's grand literary masterpieces and experience the times and conditions they came from and the diverse issues with which their writers grappled.
The unique insights Professor Sutherland shares about how and why these works succeed as both literature and documents of Britain's social and political history can forever alter the way you experience a novel, poem, or play.
More than just a survey, these lectures reveal how Britain's cultural landscape acted upon its literature and how, in turn, literature affected the cultural landscape. Professor Sutherland takes a historical approach to the wealth of works explored in these lectures, grounding them in specific contexts and often connecting them with one another.
All the great writers that come to mind when you think of British literature are here, along with unique looks at their most popular and powerful works. You also enjoy the company of less-familiar voices and contemporary authors who continue to take literature into new territories.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Best of British

This audiobook was an enjoyable summary of British Literature from its inception with Beowulf in the dark ages up to the 21st century. As a general rule it was very entertaining, giving the background stories of the authors and describing how their lives and historical circumstances produced their writing. It was fascinating to hear the about the lives of Austen, the Brontes, Dickens and Hardy.

I found myself zoning out a few times when poetry was the topic. I don’t think this is the fault of the lecturer, poetry just doesn’t really do it for me, although I found the lives of Keats and Byron to be interesting and First World War poetry has always seemed more poignant to me than poetry about love or beauty. As for Milton and Paradise Lost, I still don’t get it even now, even after it has been explained to me.

My overall verdict is that this is an interesting audiobook and, at 25 hours duration, well worth the price of the credit.
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- Mark "I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!"

No Tolkien or Lewis?

Not even a mention of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien? Seriously? How can you skip them? It was all relatively good until the 20th century.
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- Adam Gadomski

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses