Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature by The Great Courses


19 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 moonlight

moonlight

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1204 posts

Posted 09 April 2017 - 01:16 PM

Does anyone have it? Used it or plan on using it?

 

I'm looking on the website and don't see the book list but I just read that it is over 70 books so one would have to pick and choose. Which books are you reading if that is the case?

 

I'd love to hear any extra details. I'm assuming this would not be a one credit course and would need to be fleshed out with some essays and writing?

 

Thanks!

 


  • eloquacious likes this

#2 okbud

okbud

    Cylon lover

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10674 posts

Posted 09 April 2017 - 03:07 PM

I listened to it for my own pleasure. I'd already read and seen most of what she goesn over, except for Atwood and the very earliest works she touches on.

It's soooo good and I highly recommend it! It'd be super fun for actual school work.

The course notes is a long one.
  • Lori D. likes this

#3 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 09 April 2017 - 03:59 PM

It's a brand new course, so probably not too many people have used it yet - I've only pre-listened to the first couple of lectures, but I agree that it is awesome! Great lecturer.  Dd and I will do this course next year for English lit, alongside a couple of BW comp classes. ETA: There are 24 lectures, but if you look at the course notes, there are ~70-ish books listed.  I haven't finalized the list of books that dd will read yet, but if you want to check out the books that are on there, I made a goodreads page that lists them all, in the order they're covered.


Edited by Chrysalis Academy, 09 April 2017 - 07:29 PM.

  • yvonne, Lori D., idnib and 4 others like this

#4 Nemom

Nemom

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 572 posts

Posted 09 April 2017 - 06:12 PM

It's a brand new course, so probably not too many people have used it yet - I've only pre-listened to the first couple of lectures, but I agree that it is awesome! Great lecturer.  Dd and I will do this course next year for English lit, alongside a couple of BW comp classes. There are 36 lectures, but if you look at the course notes, there are ~70-ish books listed.  I haven't finalized the list of books that dd will read yet, but if you want to check out the books that are on there, I made a goodreads page that lists them all, in the order they're covered.

 

Thanks for putting the list together.  I will spend the evening checking all the titles out.   :drool: I'm planning on 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World plus a couple that are not on the lecturer's list:  Ready Player One and It Can't Happen Here.  

 

We've already read all of the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner series.

 

Since you have previewed a couple of the lessons...what are your thoughts on the timing of reading the books and watching the lectures?  I don't want to watch the lectures first if they are going to give away too much. I will read the books at the same as her.  

 

edited to add:  we will be watching it through the Great Courses Plus app which only has 24 lectures.


Edited by Nemom, 09 April 2017 - 06:14 PM.

  • Lori D. likes this

#5 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:31 PM

Oh, you're right, I checked again and there are in fact only 24 lectures. But she lists ~ 3 books for most lectures.

 

I haven't listened to enough of them yet to decide whether to read first and then listen,or vice versa. I think it depends on the book. Definitely read The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas before listening to the first lecture! But then for some of the older works in the early lectures, I think listening to the lecture, for historical and author context, will actually make those works more accessible. So I think for us it will vary by lecture, which order we do it in.


  • Lori D. likes this

#6 moonlight

moonlight

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1204 posts

Posted 10 April 2017 - 01:11 PM

I'm so thankful for your hard work Rose! 

 

DS has already read some of the more popular books. 

 

I'm planning on doing this for next year! Our plans were up in there, but this just sealed the deal! And we'll be doing a couple of the BW classes comp. classes as well. DS did the Expository Essay this year so we will do the follow up class at some point in either the summer or next year and then one of the other ones. 

 

I signed him up for two creative writing classes for this term/summer to get a credit or half a credit in! :-)

 

Off to go decide on which books to choose. 


  • Lori D. and Chrysalis Academy like this

#7 moonlight

moonlight

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1204 posts

Posted 10 April 2017 - 01:16 PM

And I know you haven't finalised your list, but I'd like to know which ones are in the running? :-)


  • Chrysalis Academy likes this

#8 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 10 April 2017 - 04:03 PM

I'm actually in the process of reading through the whole list to pick the winners - I've read quite a few of them before, but I'm going to systematically read through most of them. I figure between now and September I should be able to make a good dent in it!

 

So far - Utopia: no! run away!

Gulliver's Travels - yes

Everything else - TBD.  Although I know we'll read the biggies, like 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, The Yellow Wallpaper & Herland, Lord of the Flies, Minority Report, Little Brother, and some of the explicitly YA recent books. I want to read at least a couple of the feminist ones, too, and I know she'll enjoy the gender-bendy ones like Left Hand of Darkness.  But I'm trying to be open-minded about the list and decide yeah or nay based on my read or re-read.



#9 historymatters

historymatters

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 389 posts

Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:34 PM

I'm actually in the process of reading through the whole list to pick the winners - I've read quite a few of them before, but I'm going to systematically read through most of them. I figure between now and September I should be able to make a good dent in it!

So far - Utopia: no! run away!
Gulliver's Travels - yes
Everything else - TBD. Although I know we'll read the biggies, like 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, The Yellow Wallpaper & Herland, Lord of the Flies, Minority Report, Little Brother, and some of the explicitly YA recent books. I want to read at least a couple of the feminist ones, too, and I know she'll enjoy the gender-bendy ones like Left Hand of Darkness. But I'm trying to be open-minded about the list and decide yeah or nay based on my read or re-read.


FYI, there's a new Audible version of The Handmade's Tale available.
  • Chrysalis Academy likes this

#10 Heather in VA

Heather in VA

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3391 posts

Posted 11 April 2017 - 08:59 AM

I wish this had been available last year (or I had known about it) when I had to do it myself :-(

 


  • Chrysalis Academy and Hilltopmom like this

#11 eloquacious

eloquacious

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1310 posts

Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:58 PM

I love this course so much, I'm working my way through it while reading and/or re-reading books as I go. It's a topic of some interest to me, as I once spent a course in grad school designing a course on this very topic, and it is a delight to hear someone else's thoughts! Best of luck with it!


  • Chrysalis Academy likes this

#12 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 11 April 2017 - 08:00 PM

The lecturer is so great. But can I confess? Gulliver's Travels is so tedious. It has flashes of brilliant satire, and so many cultural allusions I think kids should know about, but man, I am just dragging myself through this re-read. Not sure if this is how I want to start the year off next year!  We might just cover the early lectures for historical interest in the genre, and not dig into the readings till later.  :leaving:


  • Lori D. and Wendy Inman like this

#13 Lori D.

Lori D.

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10909 posts

Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:39 PM

...Gulliver's Travels is so tedious. It has flashes of brilliant satire, and so many cultural allusions I think kids should know about, but man, I am just dragging myself through this re-read. Not sure if this is how I want to start the year off next year!  We might just cover the early lectures for historical interest in the genre, and not dig into the readings till later...

 

We just did a few excerpts from the Lilliputian section. :) We also just did excerpts from Thomas More's Utopia. Excerpts can be plenty good enough when you're just trying to establish background or provide general exposure. :)

 

I am now waving the magic wand over you  :smash:   (LOL) that reminds you that you don't have to always read every single word of every single work in the program and it will still be very worthwhile...


  • swimmermom3, lisabees, Chrysalis Academy and 1 other like this

#14 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:09 AM

We just did a few excerpts from the Lilliputian section. :) We also just did excerpts from Thomas More's Utopia. Excerpts can be plenty good enough when you're just trying to establish background or provide general exposure. :)

 

I am now waving the magic wand over you  :smash:   (LOL) that reminds you that you don't have to always read every single word of every single work in the program and it will still be very worthwhile...

 

Thank you, magic is always appreciated here!! Shannon loved Candide but I'm definitely only going to have her read selections from GT.  I think she should read at least part of the Liliputian section, and I think she'll get a kick out of the Houyhnhnms. I'm definitely planning on using excerpts, for this study next year, and skipping a lot of the books - in fact the way my list is looking now, it may end up being 10-ish novels and 10-ish short stories, essays, or excerpts.  Still subject to change, but here it is (because sharing book lists is so fun!!).  I haven't pre-read all the 1970s feminist Utopias yet, and will add at least one of those, but here is what I'm thinking so far:

 

 Walden (selections: Economy, Where I Lived, Reading) – Henry David Thoreau

Transcendental Wild Oats – Louisa May Alcott

The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Herland – Charolotte Perkins Gilman

The Soul of Man Under Socialism – Oscar Wilde

We – Yevgeny Zamyatin (selection from Imperfect Ideal)

The Machine Stops – EM Forster

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

1984 – George Orwell

Politics and the English Language – George Orwell

Metropolis (film)

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

The Minority Report – Philip K Dick (short story & film)

Fahrenheit 451-Ray Bradbury

Alphaville (film)

 Blade Runner (film)

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula LeGuin

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Little Brother – Cory Doctorow

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel


  • Lori D. and lisabees like this

#15 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:14 AM

Oh, and I wanted to mention this book from the Great Books Foundation - it has selections and discussion/essay questions. We won't do the whole book but some of the selections I'm using come from here: Imperfect Ideal: Utopian and Dystopian visions.  They also have free study guides for the films we're doing an for a few of the biggies like The Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, and 1984.


  • Lori D., lisabees and okbud like this

#16 lisabees

lisabees

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3504 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:05 PM

DD watched her Charlotte Perkins Gilman lecture the other day and immediately asked for more.  It's the end of her school year, so I, too, am planning to do it next year.  Thanks, Rose, for your goodreads page and your updated list.

 

At this very moment, though, she is watching the first lecture as a companion to The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, which had already been planned!  So glad I found this course!

 

I'll also be planning a Women's Lit study for this dd.  I did one last year with my DSD and it was fabulous.  Just another idea to throw out there.  Hee hee!


Edited by lisabees, 19 May 2017 - 12:06 PM.

  • Lori D. and Chrysalis Academy like this

#17 Lori D.

Lori D.

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10909 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 12:46 PM

Oh, and I wanted to mention this book from the Great Books Foundation - it has selections and discussion/essay questions. We won't do the whole book but some of the selections I'm using come from here: Imperfect Ideal: Utopian and Dystopian visions.  They also have free study guides for the films we're doing an for a few of the biggies like The Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, and 1984.

 

Nice! Thanks for linking those resources. :) In case it helps, I've seen useful resources for 2 of the works on your list: the meaty and worthwhile Garlic Press Discovering Literature challenger level guide for Lord of the Flies (for a fee), and the shorter but free Monarch Notes for Brave New World. I think I sent you my Fahrenheit 451 lessons from my sci-fi/fantasy class from 2 years ago. If nothing else, a list of the MANY allusions and what they are referencing is very helpful -- here are 2 links:

- Use of Literary Quotations and Allusions in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, by Willi Real

- same resource, as a pdf file

 

 

...it may end up being 10-ish novels and 10-ish short stories, essays, or excerpts.  Still subject to change, but here it is (because sharing book lists is so fun!!).  I haven't pre-read all the 1970s feminist Utopias yet, and will add at least one of those, but here is what I'm thinking so far:

 

 Walden (selections: Economy, Where I Lived, Reading) – Henry David Thoreau

Transcendental Wild Oats – Louisa May Alcott

The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Herland – Charolotte Perkins Gilman

The Soul of Man Under Socialism – Oscar Wilde

We – Yevgeny Zamyatin (selection from Imperfect Ideal)

The Machine Stops – EM Forster

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

1984 – George Orwell

Politics and the English Language – George Orwell

Metropolis (film)

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

The Minority Report – Philip K Dick (short story & film)

Fahrenheit 451-Ray Bradbury

Alphaville (film)

 Blade Runner (film)

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula LeGuin

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Little Brother – Cory Doctorow

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

 

VERY cool, Rose! Yes, 10-ish novels and 10-ish short stories, essays, or excerpts will be a full plate for sure. :)

 

Just some random thoughts below... not that you asked  ;) , so feel free to skip my unsolicited thoughts below:

 

If she hasn't already read The Hunger Games, your DD will likely want to read the 2 sequels, which do work as an overall whole, so you may want to leave time in your schedule for that -- or save The Hunger Games for the last book of the year and then just enjoy the 2 sequels as summer reading. I haven't had a chance yet to see movie #3 and #4 (based on book #3), but, I thought the films of books 1 and 2 did a good job of staying focused and tightening up the novels to stay on theme. Of the 3 books, #1 is the best, with book #2 and esp. book #3 feeling rushed and loose in the writing -- they lose a lot of the depth and become mostly about the characters fighting their way through endless series of death traps and Katniss trying to choose between boyfriends (Gayle! Peta! Gayle! Peta! Gayle! Peta!), and it's not until the very last few chapters of book #3 that author Collins gets back to addressing the very powerful and difficult themes brought up in book #1. I'm planning on doing just The Hunger Games in my middle school/early high school Lit. class next year, so maybe I'll have more ideas for you on that title as I put together my lessons. I do see that Garlic Press has a guide out for each book of the trilogy, so I'll be looking at that...

 

I find it interesting that Left Hand of Darkness is being identified as a utopia/dystopia. I personally would have placed it solidly in the traditional broader sci-fi genre, so I'll be interested to hear what elements the creator of this lecture series sees in the book for calling it a utopia/dystopia themed work. :)

 

Also, I'm just wondering what you and DD will read to lighten up the dark vision and themes that prevail in dystopic worlds... Maybe a few works that are light and humorous and completely unrelated in a genre that your DD enjoys to help balance things out? (e.g., Shakespeare comedies, PG Wodehouse, humorous YA works, light mysteries...??)

 

Cline's Ready Player One is about the only "lighter" or more humorous dystopic work I can think of. Possibly Stephenson's Anathem which turns into fun adventure sci-fi in parts 2 and 3 of the book -- but I tend to think of that as being more straight sci-fi with post-apocalyptic overtones rather than dystopic. Maybe Jasper Fforde's Shades of Gray -- not exactly light/humorous, but it's not a heavy dystopia, there are moments of humor, and its one of the more creative ones I've read in quite awhile. And while it's not dystopic (it's straight-up sci-fi set in the near future and is time-travel mixed with the threat of a pandemic), Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog is definitely lighter and has a fair amount of humor. Or possibly the 19th century utopia Flatland, by Abbott. (There's also an animated film that is a loose adaptation of Flatland.)

 

re: films

I'm SO glad you're including some films! Metropolis (1927) is an absolute must; not to mention that I think you guys will enjoy the movie for its set-design and film techniques, which were very advanced for the time -- still in the silent era of films. I had not heard of Alphaville (1965) before, but the fact that it is a film noir and done by Godard makes a lot of sense. Another pair of dystopic films you might find interesting are the short French film La Jetté (1962), and also Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys (1995) which was based on La Jetté. Gilliam's Brazil (1985) is another strong, don't miss cinematic dystopia.

 

In case you want to watch film versions and compare with the books, or shift any titles to just movie-watching, there are good film versions of: Lord of the Flies (1963);  Fahrenheit 451 (1961) -- by  Truffaut, the other great French director besides Godard in the 1960s -- and The Hunger Games (2012).

 

Looking forward to seeing your final line-up and support resources. :) Have a SUPER utopia/dystopia year! Warmest regards, Lori D.


Edited by Lori D., 19 May 2017 - 01:49 PM.

  • lisabees and Chrysalis Academy like this

#18 foxbridgeacademy

foxbridgeacademy

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4525 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:39 PM

I don't think it was mentioned but for the "Do androids Dream"/Bladerunner option you could also have a "field trip" to go see the new movie coming out later this year.  Another good film option is "Ready Player One" being put out early next year (I think) by Spielberg. We will be doing the lecture series this year or the next (letting the kids decide) and I plan to include a lot of movies, both adaptions from books listed and others inspired by the novels.  Kids should love it but it's a lot of work for me.


  • lisabees and Chrysalis Academy like this

#19 Chrysalis Academy

Chrysalis Academy

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9731 posts

Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:35 PM

Nice! Thanks, guys, for those additional suggestions and movie tie-ins. I definitely wanted to find more good film versions, so I'll check all those out.

 

Lori, one of the things that I like about this GC class is the fact that she talks about how the utopian impulse (and even the dystopian impulse) is ultimately an expression of hope, and of human optimism on some level. I don't know that I buy that 100%, but I do appreciate it - it's actually why I decided to use the lectures. I had been wanting to read some of these books with dd, but was worried about everything feeling too dark and heavy and depressing. The lectures definitely seem to put a different spin on the whole genre, which I'm finding interesting. I'm listening to A Clockwork Orange right now, a book I haven't read since Freshman Comp in college (and hated at the time). I still don't like the violence, but I'm actually appreciating the theme, the relation between choice and goodness, free will and morality, and ultimately I think the story, dark as it is, ends on an optimistic note (at least the full, 21-chapter version of the book does, not the original American publication or the Kubrik movie).

 

You know us, we'll follow rabbit trails in there, too, and will definitely throw in some Shakespeare just because we love it!  I always make a plan, but it's more like a bobsled run than a railroad track - there's lots of swerving and veering.  

 

I put Hunger Games on the list kind of against my will - I think it's terribly written, and while I think the first book is pretty good, I think it goes downhill from there and I positively hated Book 3. I just feel like the series is such a phenomena at this point that we probably shouldn't skip it. I'll let her read the other two books in the series on her own time if she wants to. She's such a voracious reader I know that won't be a time problem.

 

That's the thing about these books - although the themes can be very heavy, many of them will be quick reads, comparatively - they are relatively short, written with more modern vocab and writing style, so will be challenging thematically but less challenging in terms of just, well, reading them. So I think we can handle more than if it was all Dickens, Bronte, etc.! It's actually why I wanted to have a few challenging short pieces in there, like Politics and the English Language and The Soul of Man Under Socialism - I want a few meaty pieces that she'll have to read several times and really dig into in order to process.

 

Yep, I have your Fahrenheit study guide on hand! We didn't end up doing that book in 8th, so we'll do it next year.  

 

There is a whole lecture on Le Guin and The Dispossessed is covered too. I've not read that yet, and may be tempted to add it in. I think Shannon will love LHoD because I think she'll be fascinated by the gender fluid characters. I'm also including The Yellow Wallpaper, which isn't actually Utopian or dystopian, but it's such a great story! We'll probably throw in a few things that don't strictly fit the genre.

 

There are two lectures on Octavia Butler, but I've not included any of those on my tentative list - I'm going to have to re-read them before I decide which to include. I remember finding them super depressing when I read them in the past. 

 

That will definitely be something to keep an eye on - if things start to get too heavy. I've left off The Road, for example. We may have to take an Oscar Wilde break in there at some point!

 

thanks again for all the suggestions, it will be fun to have so many kids doing this study next year! I hope people keep sharing their ideas and good finds.


Edited by Chrysalis Academy, 19 May 2017 - 03:35 PM.

  • lisabees and okbud like this

#20 Sebastian (a lady)

Sebastian (a lady)

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12193 posts

Posted 20 May 2017 - 12:47 PM

A few more ive enjoyed recently.
The Circle- movie soon, but I'd read the book first. Explores the temptations and good intentions that lead to loss of freedom.


Station Eleven I really liked this one. Interesting time shifting style that follows several characters. More is implied than stated. Has both the cataclysm and the aftermath.

I like both of the above, because in many dystopian works the cataclysm is long in the past.

World War Z is one of my favorites ever. Not so much about zombies as about what people's reactions are to the pending end of the world. Essentially a set of connected short stories told as first person narratives. The framework is an oral history collection.

The Girl with All the Gifts is another post disaster story with some interesting twists.

Some of these aren't strict dystopian because the downfall is a natural event rather than an attempted utopia. But then the plots of 1984 and Hunger Games are about control as much as the dark side of utopia.

One more lesser known work is We by Eugene Zamiatin. (Sp?) A Russian author writing dystopian science fiction a decade before Brave New World.
  • Chrysalis Academy likes this