Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature : The Great Courses: Genre Fiction

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Pamela Bedore
  • Series: The Great Courses: Genre Fiction
  • 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Can literature change our real world society? At its foundation, utopian and dystopian fiction asks a few seemingly simple questions aimed at doing just that. Who are we as a society? Who do we want to be? Who are we afraid we might become? When these questions are framed in the speculative versions of Heaven and Hell on earth, you won't find easy answers, but you will find tremendously insightful and often entertaining perspectives.
Utopian and dystopian writing sits at the crossroads of literature and other important academic disciplines such as philosophy, history, psychology, politics, and sociology. It serves as a useful tool to discuss our present condition and future prospects - to imagine a better tomorrow and warn of dangerous possibilities. To examine the future of mankind through detailed and fascinating stories that highlight and exploit our anxieties in adventurous, thought-provoking, and engaging ways. From Thomas More's foundational text Utopia published in 1516 to the 21st-century phenomenon of The Hunger Games, dive into stories that seek to find the best - and the worst - in humanity, with the hope of better understanding ourselves and the world. Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature delivers 24 illuminating lectures, led by Pamela Bedore, Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, which plunge you into the history and development of utopian ideas and their dystopian counterparts. You'll encounter some of the most powerful and influential texts in this genre as you travel centuries into the past and thousands of years into the future, through worlds that are beautiful, laughable, terrifying, and always thought-provoking.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating Lectures on Utopian and Dystopian Literature

First of all, in regard to the "hijacked by feminism" complaint made by another reviewer: I'd hardly say that a discussion of Charlotte Perkins Gilman or Margaret Atwood constitutes a hijacking by feminism (and I'm not particularly sympathetic to 2nd and 3rd wave feminism). I'm politically oriented toward the right, so a feminist tirade would turn me off. But this installment of the Great Courses is not a feminist tirade in whole or in part.

What it is: An utterly fascinating and absorbing series of lectures on utopian and dystopian literature, from Thomas More and Jonathan Swift through Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edward Bellamy, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Ursula Le Guin, and on up through the present. Several films (such as Soylent Green) and other pop culture artifacts (the Hunger Games novels and the attraction of young adult readers to dystopian fiction today) are discussed.

The professor is clearly in love with her subject, and her voice is bubbling over with excitement and enthusiasm. It's infectious. It makes the listener excited and enthusiastic as well. I couldn't stop listening. At the end of every 30 minute lecture, I kept saying to myself: "Maybe just one more lecture." But then 30 minutes later I'd be saying that same thing. All in all, this is an excellent product, and I look forward to more great stuff from the Great Courses series.
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- CRG2

A very enjoyable and educational audiobook

I won a free Audible credit from the Audiobook Addicts facebook group. I chose The Great Courses title Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature. I have enjoyed many of the Great Courses before and the topic really appealed to me. Professor Bedore does a fantastic job of presenting the material while keeping it very interesting for the listener. The course has twenty-four lessons totaling over twelve hours.

The course begins with a discussion of what Utopian and Dystopian mean. The next lesson starts the discussion of the first Utopian work by Thomas More. There are several lessons covering the other Utopian writers such as Swift and H. G. Wells. The course then moves on to the Dystopias. It covers much more than Orwell's 1984. The breath of the course is really amazing. It covers The Hunger Games and the Apocalyptic works of this century. The final lesson is on the future of the two genres.

The accompanied course guide, in Adobe pdf format, is amazing. It is over two hundred and forty pages of information. Each lesson has an outline of what is covered and a Suggested Reading section as well as Questions to consider. The Bibliography at the end is incredible. It is going to populate my to-read list for years to come.

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature was a very enjoyable and educational audiobook. I would recommend it for anyone who reads Utopian or Dystopian genres.
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- N. H.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2017
  • Publisher: The Great Courses