[PDF] Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World | by è David Denby


  • Title: Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World
  • Author: David Denby
  • ISBN: 9780684835334
  • Page: 276
  • Format: Paperback

  • As September rolls around, do you find yourself longing to go back to school despite the fact that you graduated years ago Would you remember how to read critically Could you hold your own alongside today s college students Would you find the Western literary classics culturally relevant and applicable to your life At the age of 48, David Denby, film critic for New YoAs September rolls around, do you find yourself longing to go back to school despite the fact that you graduated years ago Would you remember how to read critically Could you hold your own alongside today s college students Would you find the Western literary classics culturally relevant and applicable to your life At the age of 48, David Denby, film critic for New York magazine and contributing editor of The New Yorker, enrolled in Columbia University to rediscover the masterpieces of the Western tradition He chronicles his journey in the New York Times bestseller Great Books My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World What brought Denby back to his alma mater was not a sense of nostalgia, but the current academic debate surrounding Western literature This culture war centers on the left s denunciation of dead white European males as oppressive and exclusionary and the right s reverence of the Western canon as the foundation of traditional values and patriotism Like many of the extremists engaged in the debate, Denby found his memories of these works faded and forgotten I possessed information without knowledge, opinions without principles, instincts without beliefs And I wanted to add my words to the debate from the ground up, beginning and ending in literature, never leaving the books themselves Thus Denby returns to Columbia for the two great books co
    David Denby
    David Denby is an American journalist, best known as a film critic for The New Yorker magazine Denby grew up in New York City He received a B.A from Columbia University in 1965, and a master s degree from its journalism school in 1966.


    Commentaires:

    Emily Alp
    This is an interesting read if you want to get an idea of what the prominent Western classics are and how they are taught at Columbia college in New York.Denby goes back to retake his classical literature courses and recounts conversations in class, reflections outside of class and his deeper relationship with the characters in the classics.Throughout the work there is strung a theme of defense against those who call Western works courses elitist I didn t buy it and found that Denby talked in ci [...]

    David Miller
    I am enough of a romanticist to buy Denby s central point, that the great books of Western Literature are valuable for aesthetic and instructive reasons Indeed, when describing his response to the classic authors in those terms, the writing is fun and enjoyable.Unfortunately, there is to this book Much of it is devoted to Denby s social political commentary, which might best be described as the ultimate middle class white man s perspective on the culture wars of the 1990s Not all of it is face [...]

    Sandra Strange
    This book should be required reading for every English literature teacher, and really is a good book for anyone interested in the most important writinigs of Western civilization It sounds a bit ordinary a journalist decides, as an adult 20 years out of college, to go back and repeat his Contemporary Civilization and Literature Humanities classes required for freshman at Columbia And then he writes about what he reads and what the class and its professor discuss about all of these basic texts As [...]

    Beth
    My thoughts on this are a mostly incoherent mess that I emailed to Katie and got out of my system This is partly very dated, partly very timely, partly suffering from that critic unable to view without imposing his own opinion, when really the professor and the students are much interesting thing that Lit Up, the author s most recent book, also had And there s this, from one professor in the book ABCDEFABABABABCDEF that s your cultural baggage, what you bring to a book You know what a lighthous [...]

    Jennifer
    review originally written for bookslut Great Books by David Denby is by no means itself a great book, though it is entertaining enough, I suppose Being the avid bookslut that I am, I am always fascinated by other people s lists of books 100 Greatest Books of All Time, 100 Best Books of the Twentieth Century, Sixteen Books to Read This Summer, I m a sucker for them all So it is no wonder that when I saw this book about the controversy over the dead white European male centrism of the canon lying [...]

    James
    David Denby, a prominent film critic returns to the Ivy League classroom as a front line correspondent on the culture wars For this book, he spent an academic year attending Columbia University s famous core curriculum classes in the great books, Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization Denby recreates how he read, pondered, and discussed classic texts from the ancient Greeks Homer, Aeschylus, Thucydides, Euripides, and Sappho to Nietzsche, Freud, and Conrad, all the time maintaining [...]

    Matt
    I can relate to Denby s Great Books I ve been meandering through them for a few years now But Denby is a little structured in his approach He returns to Columbia University to attend classes on the classics and what comes out is a travelogue through the Western Canon It s not an attempt at scholarly reflection It s about connecting with these monumental works in a way that gives them personal meaning and dimension There are some insightful observations about the works themselves, but the focus [...]

    Tim Weakley
    The author, David Denby, spent his professional career as a film critic Good for him People need to be taught what is a good film, and what causes a film to fail Unfortunately he thinks his skills translate into writing a book about great works of literature and philosophy and they don t quite He begins well He goes back to school and audits the same two courses by several professors to get an overall look at what passes for a great work at Columbia thirty years after he originally went there in [...]

    Nicolas Shump
    A well written account of Denby s decision to go back to Columbia University to re take their Great Books program The best parts are when he relates the books to people and events in his life Thinking of Hobbes after being mugged on the subway, memories of his mother when reading King Lear, etc He spends too much time dichotomizing his perspective as a middle aged man to that of his young classmates He is also took quick to discount the leftist revisions of the canon I don t think he contextuali [...]

    loafingcactus
    I listened to this as an audio book and as such it was charming to have a survey of some great books I doubt I would have had the patience to read it if I were going to read something about these books I would either read something of higher quality or read the books themselves.I think Denby was fair in his analysis of his fellow students and himself, but I still found myself irritated by his discussion of his fellow students Criticizing young people with zero life experience or education is sho [...]

    Robyn
    This was pretty disappointing I waited six years after graduating from Columbia and nearly 10 years after commencing Lit Hum to revisit the material via Denby s experiences I found his take to be a combination of saccharine, patronizing, and dated it s nearly 15 years old Don t even get me started on his chapter on Simone de Beauvoir and the perils of Take Back the Night I m so glad that I didn t go anywhere near this prior to seeing the Core which I adore for myself, and I will continue to caut [...]

    Mary O'Donnell
    This book came out about the same time that my adult daughter started at Columbia I think that I became aware of the book because I loved Denby s reviews in the New Yorker It was such an incredible opportunity to share his and my daughter s experience I love this book because it opened me up to so many different writers and enhanced my knowledge.

    Lisa
    Brilliant If you want to be a well read person, this is a great guide to the canon , to get you started.

    Eric_W
    At age forty eight, Denby, a theatre critic for New York magazine, decided to return to Columbia University and retake two courses, Literature of the Humanities and Contemporary Civilization, both required of all Columbia graduates His motivation was to force himself to read through the entire shelf, not to rediscover his youth, most overpraised time of life, but to get a second chance at school He was of not really knowing anything The result is a fascinating intellectual journey through the We [...]

    Ben Atkins
    A thought provoking work that becomes engaging as it progresses I initially picked this up out of jealousy Having embarked on a personnel exploration of classic literature 4 years ago, the thought of being able to explore these works in the context of college classes at Columbia is very appealing My expectation was that I would really enjoy the first half of the book covering mostly works that I had read over the past few years and endure the second half covering works I was less familiar with [...]

    Richard Jespers
    Over four hundred and fifty pages, this one took me a long time to read, but it was worth it Denby, former New York Times critic and now New Yorker film critic, writes of his reading experiences when he audits a couple of literature classes he had taken at Columbia University in the early sixties I read this book rather belatedly, as it was published in 1996, but it s never too late to learn of someone s love affair with literature There are so many things I could talk about the number of master [...]

    Emily January
    Denby s exploration of the Western Canon is engaging and thoughtful I found myself reliving my own experience with required Humanities and Classical Civilization classes as an undergraduate Despite Denby s claim that his book is not an academic venture, he definitely inserts himself into the discourse Sometimes, these frank discussions are enlightening Other times, his attempts at literary analysis are embarrassing I found this especially true in the chapter on Conrad in which Denby openly fight [...]

    Mads
    I was once stranded with just this book in my bag and how I loved it I m familiar with Denby s work in New Yorker but I have to say that I love Anthony Lane s movie reviews better than Denby s, although I remember a particularly incisive article that Denby wrote about Charles Darwin Because of this book, I re read the Iliad very very closely and realized how awesome it really is It was only in my second reading that I realized that the Iliad s first word is rage Bloody, brutal thing that poem I [...]

    Chris Via
    This book was extremely relevant for me, though our degrees of separation are at different scales I am a 32 year old, married, full time professional, who is getting ready to pursue my PhD in English soon in my free time And I often daydream about going back and taking old survey courses now that I ve got experience and so on So, I lapped this book up, sentence by sentence, living vicariously through Denby Alas halfway through I became a bit bored But, overall, Denby keeps it interesting by wea [...]

    Jessica
    It took me way too long to read this book but that was not entirely Denby s fault.I came very close to giving this book 5 stars, but unfortunately as much as I enjoyed it, as illuminating as it was there, were nonetheless sections where his opinions were too blinkered, too myopic He saves himself by both admitting and even questioning how who he is, his privilege of class and race, may be affecting his judgement, but he still falls short of overcoming that privilege And he also dovetails into a [...]

    Mary D
    Read this for book group Denby returned to college to take the Great Books courses He briefly goes over some of the courses with snippets of text and his reaction as well as those of some students It did inspire me to do some additional reading of a few of the texts discussed but there is no way I have the brain power to understand something like Hegel even the overview went over my head The discussions on Marx, Mill and Woolf were my favorites I did enjoy hearing how Denby had trouble concentra [...]

    Pancho
    Well written but I had hoped for detail, commentary about the books in the course A lot of personal reflection, which was to be expected, but the side stories sometimes felt like filler material The last chapter seemed like an eternity and ended rather abruptly But the points he made were spot on, and I highlighted many pages.

    Jessica Morgan
    The book is not for the lazy reader Still, I enjoyed making the effort It is probably the only way I could ever afford to attend classes at Columbia University and take a guided trip through philosophy classics.

    Kimberly Anderson
    Disappointing I was hoping for a new reason to take another look at the classics He didn t offer me a good one and in fact made me less interested in going back to these and I ended just being irritated by his rich white male perspective.

    Mont
    Thirty years after graduating from Columbia, a New York film critic returned to his alma mater to study the Great Books Denby s love song to literature inspired me to spend 10 years a Homeric period Trojan War 10 years journey home 10 years studying the Great Books.

    Nicholas Bobbitt
    Denby interacts well with the texts, explaining his mission and his reasons for completing it well.

    ej cullen
    Interesting premise back to school at an advanced age Insightful, but ultimately unsatisfying.

    Mark
    In the fall of 1991, film critic David Denby returned to Columbia University, his alma mater, to retake the university s two required humanities courses Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization These are two of those great books courses that several universities continue to require their students to take, despite continued criticism from some groups that the courses are too full of works by dead white guys, and biased too much toward Western i.e dead white guy civilization at the expe [...]

    Raymond
    Originally published on my blog randoymwords Oh, those middle class problems For me, the only thing ridiculous than people claiming that gun ownership is a right rather than a class privilege is the complaining that goes on about the courses in higher education Much as one has to have time and money to invest in an automatic weapon, people such as myself don t have the luxury to consider going to school in order to learn things Yet political arguments are constantly drawn from the assumption th [...]

    Yu
    Reading this book is like having a gluttonous diner while you are ravenous I was rushing myself to have it all at once, but then it stuck There was something that I could not comprehend, like Kant, Hegel and so many other contemporary authors, not mention those earlier ones It was exciting on one hand, because I was revealing myself to it and couldn t have been eager with the intention on raising consciousness But, it was very frustrating too on the other hand I remember how I crawled, moved f [...]

    • [PDF] Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World | by è David Denby
      276 David Denby
    Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World