From Plato to Post-modernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author : The Great Courses: Western Literature

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Louis Markos
  • Series: The Great Courses: Western Literature
  • 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Any lover of Shakespeare or the Romantic poets can concede that poetry is pleasurable. But is it good for you? Can it teach you anything? These are questions that have beguiled and engaged eminent critics for millennia, and now you can develop your own answers and options with these 24 lectures.
The source of poetry's wellspring; the relationship between poetry and human progress; the possible truths (and lies) involved in the literary arts; the role of the author; these lectures tap into an enormous range of material to explore these and other provocative issues. You'll follow the strands of this "conversation" between philosophy and the literary arts down the millennia, profiting from in-depth analyses of works by Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Sir Philip Sidney, Dryden, Pope, Wordsworth, Shelley, Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, T.S. Eliot, Northrop Frye, Foucault, Derrida, and more.
Throughout these lectures, you'll meet the poet in many guises. These include: the divine poet (a supernatural creator who transcends the laws of nature), the alchemical poet (the inspired individual who fuses humanity's divided nature into one), the common poet (the poet who roots himself or herself in the real world and speaks for the common individual), the playful poet (who champions sensitivity of feeling, contradictory truths, and uncertainties), and the prisoner poet (who's a product of, and a slave to, his or her own subconscious suppositions).
By concentrating on critical reflections about poetry - the oldest of the literary arts - you'll come away with lessons on how to understand literature, and all of the arts, more generally. More importantly, you'll be prepared to join in these critical conversations yourself.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Passionate Profesdor

Unless you were an English Literature major, you probably never considered poetry or fictional prose in this way. Perhaps you've heard of critical theory but weren't sure what it was. Maybe you've encountered it in the context of philosophy, political science, or linguistics, but these contexts are spin-offs of the original, which is poetical literature.
Does poetry matter to society? Can a poetical work be sublime and timeless, or is it always a mere transient expression of a social niche? To what extent do poems reflect the author's original thinking rather than the social influences on the author? Do critics of poetical literature add value for readers?
The professor knows these are unfamiliar questions to anyone who did not major in literature, and he is excited to convey them to.a lay audience. His voice is always clear, animated, and easy to listen to.

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- Jennifer

As a philosopher

I can say that this is one of the best/most accurate portrayals of not only the arts but of objective truths. Bravo
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- Jean Payens

Book Details

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