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Professor Seth Lerer, Ph.D.

Professor Seth Lerer
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Chicago
Anyone who comes to know English as a child in school, or as an adult who speaks another language, is invariably confronted by the strangeness of its spelling.

Dr. Seth Lerer is the Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of California, San Diego. Before taking this position, he was the Avalon Foundation Professor in Humanities and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. He also taught at Princeton University, Cambridge University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Lerer earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University, a second B.A. from Oxford University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Professor Lerer's research interests include medieval and Renaissance studies, early Tudor literary culture, textual criticism, Old and Middle English literature, and children's literature. He has published 10 books, including Chaucer and His Readers and Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language. Professor Lerer won the 2010 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin for his book Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. The book also won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and reviews. Professor Lerer received many awards for his scholarship and teaching, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Beatrice White Prize of the English Association of Great Britain (for Chaucer and His Readers), and the Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching at Stanford.

Testimonials

"It was a privilege to be able to hear Professor Lerer whose profound scholarship shone through and whose passion for his subject was inspiring."

 

"Dr. Lerer makes English live and breath and seem so beautiful. "

 

"Professor Lerer's speaking style was supremely confident
and utterly disarming. The course's valuable content just slipped
into my brain like I was putting on an old pair of well worn,
comfortable shoes."

19 Courses and Sets

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19 Courses and Sets

  1. History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Seth Lerer
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $374.95 $199.95$374.95
    Sixteen centuries ago a wave of settlers from northern Europe came to the British Isles speaking a mix of Germanic dialects. Today we call that dialect Old English, the ancestor of the language nearly one in five people in the world speaks every day. How did this ancient tongue evolve into the elegant idiom of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and other great writers? And how does English continue develop today? The History of...
  2. 36 Books That Changed the World Collection

    36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $269.95 $199.95$269.95
    Since the development of written language, books have played major roles in the world: Entertaining. Instructing. Inspiring. Even changing the course of history. Now, with 36 Books That Changed the World, a fascinating Great Courses Collection crafted from our extensive library of courses, take a riveting tour of the profound impact of books from thousands of years of history and from civilizations around the globe.
  3. Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer

    Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer

    Seth Lerer
    Starting at $89.95 Starting at $89.95 $89.95 $89.95$89.95
    The Life and Writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, award-winning Professor Seth Lerer's masterful course on one of Western literature's most enduring poets, is a fascinating look at Chaucer's life, his world, and the language in which he wrote. By examining texts, from his short love lyrics to the copious profusion of character and events that compose The Canterbury Tales, this course prepares you for the challenges of...
  4. 36 Revolutionary Figures of History Collection

    36 Revolutionary Figures of History

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $269.95 $199.95$269.95
    Alexander the Great. Jesus. Darwin. Churchill. These are just a few of the revolutionary individuals who have transformed our world in ways that still resonate today. 36 Revolutionary Figures of History is a unique collection of 36 lectures from our extensive course catalog—one that takes you across time and around the globe to offer piercing insights into some of history’s most transformative figures.
  5. Life and Writings of John Milton Sale

    Life and Writings of John Milton

    Seth Lerer
    Save up to $74.00 Starting at $15.95 $15.95 $15.95$15.95
    There is no disputing that John Milton is one of the supreme writers in the history of English letters. Yet, for a number of reasons, many modern readers are unaware of the pleasures of his often intimidating poetry and prose. The Life and Writings of John Milton is a thorough examination of this seminal Western writer designed to help you understand his poetry: its richness and depth; its representation of...
  6. (Set) History of the English Language & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning  Set

    (Set) History of the English Language & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Discover a wealth of new ideas about how we communicate with each other. In The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition, investigate the remarkable history of English, from the prose of King Alfred in the Middle Ages to the sermons of Martin Luther King Jr. In Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition, learn how to reason, how to persuade others that what you think is right, and how to judge...
  7. (Set) Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $639.90 Starting at $639.90 $749.90 $639.90$749.90
    Learn more than you ever imagined about the most powerful language in our 21st-century world with this two-course set that reveals the fascinating inner workings of English. Start with Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language, an exciting 36-lecture journey through the elements and purposes of language, from its fundamental building blocks to its uses as a nuanced social tool. Then round out your...
  8. (Set)  Myths of Language Usage & History of the English Langua Set

    (Set) Myths of Language Usage & History of the English Langua

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
  9. (Set) History of the English Language, 2nd Edition & William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies  Set

    (Set) History of the English Language, 2nd Edition & William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $749.90 $399.90$749.90
    Discover the origins of the English language and learn how Western civilization's greatest writer used it to create some of literature's most profound masterpieces in this two-course set. In The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition, investigate the remarkable history of English from the powerful prose of the medieval King Alfred to the modern-day sermons of Martin Luther King Jr. Then, in Shakespeare:...
  10. (Set)  Language A to Z & History of the English Language Set

    (Set) Language A to Z & History of the English Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $289.90 Starting at $289.90 $404.90 $289.90$404.90
  11. (Set) Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Learn the remarkable story of the development of the world’s writing systems and the history of the English language in this fascinating course set. First in Professor Marc Zender’s Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity, you explore how writing systems developed, the features they have in common, and how they were adopted and adapted by surrounding cultures. Then, in Professor...
  12. (Set) Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Discover fascinating new insights about English in this two-course set that takes you deep inside the sheer pleasure and intriguing history of this amazing language. First, investigate the myriad ways we think about, talk about, and write sentences in Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft. Then, get a revised and updated look at the remarkable history of English, from the Middle Ages to the modern...
  13. History of World Literature; C Set

    History of World Literature; C

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $2,249.65 Starting at $2,249.65 $3,169.65 $2,249.65$3,169.65
    With this engrossing seven-course set, develop an extraordinary familiarity with the authors and works that have defined human civilization—all without reading hundreds of thousands of pages! Explore literary masterpieces from around the world with Classics of American Literature, Classics of Russian Literature, Classics of British Literature, and The History of World Literature. Then delve into iconic works...
  14. (Set) History of the English Language & Story of Human Language  Set

    (Set) History of the English Language & Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $749.90 $399.90$749.90
    Improve your understanding of the origins of the English language and the world's diversity of tongues. The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition explores a wealth of fascinating issues, including the effect of recent phenomena such as text messaging, hip hop, and e-mail on how English works. The Story of Human Language investigates the origins and evolutions of different languages, why there isn't a single...
  15. (Set) Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language; History of the English Language, 2nd Edition; & Story of Human Language  Set

    (Set) Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language; History of the English Language, 2nd Edition; & Story of Human Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $959.85 Starting at $959.85 $1,124.85 $959.85$1,124.85
  16. (Set) The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $749.90 $399.90$749.90
    Unearth the story behind the everyday words in our lexicon and study how and why language changes in this illuminating two-course set. First, The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins offers a delightfully informative survey of English, from its Germanic origins to the rise of globalization and cyber-communications. Then, The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition explores a wealth of...
  17. (Set) Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy & History of the English Language, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $294.90 Starting at $294.90 $574.90 $294.90$574.90
    Discover the colorful characters in your family's story as well as the roots of the English language and its subsequent changes in this fascinating course set. In Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy, you'll get the information and practical skills to trace your family's history and then pull together all the details into a coherent, engaging written account to pass on to future generations. And in...
  18. (Set) 36 Revolutionary Figures of History & 36 Books That Changed the World Set on sale

    (Set) 36 Revolutionary Figures of History & 36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Save up to $415.00 Starting at $88.90 $124.90 $88.90$124.90
    Learn something new and exciting with this set of collections courses. Start by exploring 36 revolutionary figures that have changed the course of history. Then, dive into 36 books that have played a central role in shaping our culture – from entertaining and instructing to shaping our social mores.
  19. (Set) Latin 101 & History of the English Language Set

    (Set) Latin 101 & History of the English Language

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $639.90 Starting at $639.90 $749.90 $639.90$749.90