Category: Great Books

From The Guardian: The best second novels of all time

It is not true that, as with our first love, our first novel will be our most memorable, written or read; in fact, it isn’t even true for our first loves, and novels deal with fiction. Nevertheless, James Reith at The Guardian has shared several books we should keep in mind next time we’re about […]

Walt Whitman and the Many Revisions of Leaves of Grass

Special thanks to Prof. Kyna Hamill for bringing this to our attention! Turns out Leaves of Grass has more editions than your textbook, and the only thing that stopped Walt Whitman from releasing more than nine was his death (probably). Unlike your textbook, however, each edition of Leaves of Grass introduced a variety of new […]

From The New York Times: ‘How Propaganda Works’ Is a Timely Reminder

Michiko Kakutani reviews a book that is timely because it comes likes an alarm clock, How Propaganda Works, by Professor Jason Stanley. It is not boring, so promise you will not be needing to hit the snooze button; but, in fact, the book will keep you engaged while serving as a prophylaxis against the opposing […]

March Books, Free to Good Homes

Spring Break is upon us, and we are thinking about spring cleaning. That includes paring down the inventory of hundreds and hundreds of used books which the Core office has acquired over the past little while, donations from members of the Core community. We invite you — students, alumni, and friends of the Core — […]

Christopher Marlowe and the Mythology of Shakespeare

Gary Taylor, lead general editor of The New Oxford Shakespeare, departs from the usual collections of Shakespeare’s plays. For the first time, the three Henry VI plays add the name of Elizabethan tragedian and “bad boy of the English Renaissance,” Christopher Marlowe, as co-author alongside the Bard. But that’s not all–fourteen other plays from the […]

From The Times Literary Supplement: Steve Bannon, heir to Plato

Steve Bannon (good name) believes in a cyclical theory of history. We do not have the evidence for it, which is just the point, sincethe argument then becomes circular. The nice thing about cycles is that it suggests revolution, something we like here; the bad thingis thatBannon feels perhaps that he is the spearhead of […]

Ariel Dorfman: In Exile with ‘Don Quixote’

It is October 1973, and men and women crowd the Argentine Embassy of Santiago. A coup has just dismantled the Chilean government headed by Salvador Allende, and novelist and activist Ariel Dorfman finds himself and 30 other refugees gathered around a copy of Don Quixote. As they read aloud, a certain kinship to Cervantes seems […]

From The Guardian: The non-western books that every student should read

It is easy in the Core Curriculum to feel content with having acquainted oneself with the tradition that is of primary concern, namely, thewestern. It is also understandable, but we should at least be aware of other kinds of classics that usually earn only a cursory treatment in this corner within the western corner. And […]

From the Nation: Criticism in the Twilight

Nicholas Dames at The Nation reviews three books that attempt to vindicate the practice of literary criticism. One of the most salient ways in which all three have done so is by laboring howcriticism opens the sensibilities of its readers to more valuably appreciate works of art that wouldotherwise have been abstruse or mysterious. What, […]

From The New York Times: Can Dr. Worthen go to Great Books Camp?

And in posing this question Professor Molly Worthen argues dyspeptically in her latest article for why more liberals should be attending ‘Great Books Camp.’ A careful study into the history of one’s own ideas, Dr. Worthen suggests, would allow us to put not only Donald Trump in perspective, but more generally to engage with conservatives […]