The Great Books: A Journey Through 2,500 Years of the West’s Classic Literature


The Great Books: A Journey Through 2,500 Years of the West’s Classic Literature

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Anyone Can Read the Great Books. with a Little Help “An illuminating, learned, well-written, and entertaining survey of the giants of world literature. Busy people, and especially the young, will be grateful for this useful and concise introduction.” “-Paul Johnson” Not simply a grand work of reference, “The Great Books” is a captivating journey through two-and-a-half millennia of the great Western tradition. The eminent British philosopher Anthony O’Hear is our capable tour guide, taking readers on an exhilarating tour through 2,500 years of books as powerful, thrilling, erotic, politically astute, and awe-inspiring as any modern bestseller. “The Great Books”is a fascinating narrative that encompasses history, myth, art, music, theater, and more. O’Hear sweeps us along from Homer’s “Iliad “to Goethe’s “Faust,” covering much ground in between. In Homer’s poems of epic struggle we discover not only the fascination and pleasure we can derive, but also why these works became the fountainhead of Western literature. From Greek tragedy we feel the power of the ancient myths, while from Plato’s “Death of Socrates “we see what may have killed off the tragic spirit. In Virgil’s “Aeneid” we ponder the close connections to-and puzzling contrasts with-Homer; in Dante’s terrifying and sublime “Divine Comedy” we encounter Virgil once again, this time as mentor and guide through Hell; and in Milton’s phantasmagoric “Paradise Lost” we find the Christian story given epic shape and power. And of course, in Shakespeare we experience the great dramatist’s particular and incomparable genius. There is much more beyond-from Ovid and Augustine to Chaucer and Cervantes, Pascal and Racine. “The Great Books” is a spirited and enlightening guide to the great works of the Western tradition, shot through with a love of literature and the author’s deeply held belief in its power to enrich and enliven everyone’s world.

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