A Day's Read

Course No. 2161
Taught By Multiple Professors
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Course No. 2161
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Course Overview

Reading great literature can be an exhilarating enterprise, one that can expand the way you see the world around you—and yourself. Unfortunately, it's also an enterprise that requires a lot of what many of us don't have these days: spare time.

"Great books" such as Don Quixote, War and Peace, and Bleak House constitute a grand reading list that many of us, with our busy lives, can't easily manage. Or, if we read them over weeks or months, we can easily lose our way, or even lose interest.

But there's another strategy for reading the "great books" that is truly manageable; one that allows you to get all the power of brilliant authors in a single day. By engaging with literary works that can be savored in less than a day, you can discover—or rediscover—just how transformative an act of reading can be. These short works possess an economy of form that you rarely find in the larger tomes we associate with great literature. Reading these shorter works allows you to

  • see the play of ideas, metaphors, and logic that often seems blurred in more expansive books;
  • distill and focus your attention on a story's intricate details and characterization; and
  • instill in you the critical thinking skills and confidence to tackle larger works by similar or different authors.

Join three literary scholars and award-winning professors as they introduce you to dozens of short masterpieces that you can finish—and engage with—in a day or less with A Day's Read. Professor Arnold Weinstein of Brown University and Professor Grant L. Voth of Monterey Peninsula College—two of our most popular literature professors—are joined by award-winning Professor Emily Allen of Purdue University. Together, all three offer you their unique scholarly perspectives on short books from across time and around the world.

Get Three Great Professors in One Single Package

Stunning, shocking, surprising, pleasurable, inspiring—the works covered in these lectures range from short stories of fewer than 10 pages to novellas and novels of around 200 pages. They are works you can read in a morning, an afternoon, an evening, or throughout the day; and they constitute a dynamic literary adventure.

But despite their short length, the books in A Day's Read are powerful examinations of the same subjects and themes that longer "great books" discuss. And with three great professors coming together to offer their own looks at literature, you'll get a multitude of ways to approach and think about grand human themes, including

  • the nature of love and the mysteries of fate;
  • the riddle of identity and the trials of growing up;the complex ties between individuals and their societies; and
  • the ways we make sense of personal and public history.

In the company of these three professors, you'll also approach the evolution of the modern novel, the development of literary genres such as graphic novels and creative nonfiction, the role of politics and culture in inspiring authors, and much more. What's more, by exploring literature through three perspectives instead of one, you'll get an opportunity to see how literature professors—just like everyone else—approach and read books in their own unique way. It's like getting three distinct learning experiences—all in one single, affordable package.

Engage with Fascinating Characters and Literary Styles

A Day's Read is organized into three 12-lecture sections led by each of the course's three professors. Each lecture is a stand-alone piece that can be enjoyed before you read the work under discussion, or as soon as you finish.

Professor Weinstein's selections offer you engrossing emotional and intellectual journeys into the recesses of the human heart. He takes you from Norway and Italy to the American South and the French countryside, introducing you to a cast of fascinating characters, a range of existential dilemmas, and captivating literary styles. His selections include

  • The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's most distilled novel and a jarring read that captures the drama of aging;
  • Invisible Cities, an experimental novel by Italo Calvino that will have you rethinking the role of cities in everyday life; and
  • "Judgment Day", a short story by Flannery O'Connor that uses grotesquerie and gothic undercurrents to get to the heart of enduring spiritual truths.

Embark on Literary Day Trips

Professor Allen frames her selections against the backdrop of the novel's historical development in the British and French literary traditions. Working your way from the late 1700s up through today, you'll savor what she calls "literary day trips" that illustrate just how intense, encompassing, and reorienting a single day's read is.

Her section of A Day's Read covers works including

  • Lady Susan, an early Jane Austen novella whose provocative subject matter and wicked central character will shock fans of the author's more "polite" social novels;
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel filled with decadent prose that is flawlessly beautiful and undeniably rewarding to read; and
  • Wide Sargasso Sea, the 1966 novel by Jean Rhys that uses the perspective of a minor character from Jane Eyre to offer a raw commentary on English colonialism.

Read between the Lines of Powerful Literature

Professor Voth's unique selections are brief but lasting adventures in which you'll confront more ideas about love, identity, history, and even the pleasures of reading itself. His lectures help you make sense of each work under discussion, reveal new ways of thinking about and interpreting their events and characters, and sometimes even provide you with lasting life lessons to take away from a first (or even second) reading.

In his 12 lectures, you'll read between the lines of day-long reads such as

  • Billy Budd, Herman Melville's classic short story that combines high-seas adventure with a richly detailed character study;
  • Hiroshima, in which author John Hersey combines journalism and storytelling to report on life in Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945; and
  • Persepolis, a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi that depicts, with brutal honesty, one young woman's coming of age during the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

The Perfect Place to Start Reading

College students and lifelong learners alike have praised Professors Weinstein, Allen, and Voth for the ways they transform literary works into portals into other cultures, psyches, and eras. Their combined decades of teaching thousands of students, along with their numerous teaching awards and scholarly books dissecting literary works and themes, make them the consummate team to introduce (or reintroduce) you to these day-long reads.

And the short length of these works makes this course great for book clubs (whether you're already in one or looking to start one). You and your book club members can read one of these short books, watch or listen to the course together, and then follow up with a deeper, livelier discussion using some of the professors' intriguing questions found in the course guidebook.

Reading a great work of literature in a single day can seem like a luxury these days. But A Day's Read proves that this experience can be a lot less rare than you'd think. There are a host of books out there that offer the same emotional and intellectual rewards as "great books" that can take months to finally get through. The 36 works in these lectures make, in the opinion of these three experts, the perfect place to start.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Kafka, “A Country Doctor”
    Why are short literary works just as insightful—and just as great—as their more gargantuan counterparts? This introductory lecture not only answers this provocative question but uses Franz Kafka’s surreal five-page story, “A Country Doctor,” to illustrate just how engaging and dynamic a day’s read can be. x
  • 2
    Prévost, Manon Lescaut
    It’s long been considered a classic of French literature. It’s regarded as a masterpiece of the pre-Romantic era. Its use of the first-person narrative to tell the story of a frustrated relationship is provocative. Here, join Professor Weinstein as he takes you deep inside the pages of Manon Lescaut. x
  • 3
    Flaubert, “A Simple Heart”
    See Gustave Flaubert’s surgical precision as a realist writer at work in “A Simple Heart,” which is often overlooked over the author’s larger novels such as Madame Bovary and The Sentimental Education. How can such a short novella as this convey, in brilliant prose, the entirety of a human life? x
  • 4
    Faulkner, “Pantaloon in Black”
    Professor Weinstein helps you make sense of a powerful vignette taken from William Faulkner’s novel Go Down Moses. In doing so, he reveals how this day’s read—which deals with grief, dignity, and racial tensions—may well be Faulkner’s finest achievement of depicting African American life in fiction. x
  • 5
    Borges, Short Story Selections
    Get a wide-angle view of Jorge Luis Borges’s fascinating, mind-bending body of work with this examination of two widely acclaimed stories: “The Garden of Forking Paths” and “Emma Zunz.” You’ll come to see how these elegant and sometimes enigmatic metaphysical tales radically challenge our notions of time, space, and identity. x
  • 6
    Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
    Discover fresh insights into Hemingway’s short novel The Old Man and the Sea. In this lecture, you’ll focus on what this brisk masterpiece has to say about growing old and the simple brutality of the animal kingdom—while also looking at the work as an unconventional type of love story. x
  • 7
    O’Connor, Short Story Selections
    Experience Flannery O’Connor at the height of her powers by comparing two stories that display the strange, often violent workings of Christian grace: “The River,” with its focus on the collision between the sacred and the secular; and “Judgment Day,” which ponders the final fate of our bodies and souls. x
  • 8
    Lagerkvist, The Sybil
    Spiritual malaise, lost innocence, startling links between paganism and Christianity—three provocative subjects that are at the center of The Sybil, a Swedish novel by Nobel laureate Pär Lagerkvist. Get a solid introduction to an unorthodox day-long read that sheds new light on familiar aspects of our world. x
  • 9
    Vesaas, The Ice Palace
    Tarjei Vesaas isn’t a household name when it comes to literary genius—but Professor Weinstein makes a solid case for why he should be. Your portal into Vesaas’s writing: The Ice Palace, a masterful tale about the strange bond between two 11-year-old girls navigating a world fraught with dangers. x
  • 10
    Calvino, Invisible Cities
    What exactly are cities? How do they evolve—if they do? Can you take the measure of a city or its people? Can someone possess a city? These questions are at the heart of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, a postmodern read that illuminates everything from imagination to desire to history. x
  • 11
    Duras, The Lover
    Perhaps the most famous French woman writer of the 20th century, Marguerite Duras is best known for her break with traditional narrative styles. See her skills at work in this piercing examination of her novel The Lover, with its disorienting time frame and provocative exploration of sexuality. x
  • 12
    Coetzee, Disgrace
    Can a short literary work chart an individual’s moral and spiritual evolution in a matter of pages? Professor Weinstein makes the case for the affirmative in his engaging lecture on J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, in which the reader is forced to confront deep truths about racial and gender tensions in South Africa. x
  • 13
    Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
    Join Professor Allen as she becomes your guide through 12 more short reads—starting with Jean Rhys’s classic Wide Sargasso Sea. Here, she takes you beyond the novel’s much touted connection with characters from Jane Eyre and demonstrates how the novel stands on its own as a commentary on English imperialism. x
  • 14
    Austen, Lady Susan
    Jane Austen writing an “improper” novel? Find out why her overlooked Lady Susan, which depicts the exploits of England’s worst coquette, is worth experiencing; how its presence fits in the larger context of the 18th-century novel’s development; and why it can be considered Austen’s literary “road not taken.” x
  • 15
    Balzac, The Girl with the Golden Eyes
    A merciless critique of the Parisian upper crust in the mid-18th century, The Girl with the Golden Eyes is Balzac at his finest. After gaining background on the author’s style and subject matter, delve into reasons this particular work—more than any of his others—makes for a masterful day’s read. x
  • 16
    Meredith, Modern Love
    Learn how George Meredith’s verse novel Modern Love, an unflinching tale of infidelity and despair, challenged the basic tenets of Victorian literature and attempted to remake the genre of the novel. You’ll also examine how it demonstrates the ways poetry can go to places darker and more realistic than prose fiction. x
  • 17
    Huysmans, Against the Grain
    Against the Grain, with its lack of plot and single character, sounds like a novella that only a literature professor could love. But Professor Allen demonstrates just how wonderful and approachable this tale of Parisian decadence is—and offers you several tactics for enjoying this strange, “dangerous” work. x
  • 18
    Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    Learn new ways to read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in this lecture that takes you through each of the book’s 10 brief chapters. In the process, you’ll find out just why this day’s read and its tortured central character make for such a compelling—and even transformative—literary adventure. x
  • 19
    Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
    Turn now to The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde’s controversial story of art, excess, and temptation. How are readers supposed to make sense of this apparent morality tale? What effect does Oscar Wilde’s real-life obscenity trial have on our reading? What about the book’s delightful stylistic perfection? x
  • 20
    James, The Beast in the Jungle
    The Beast in the Jungle is a watershed moment in the novella’s history—one that stretches the possibilities of the form and explores new stylistic ways to depict the turmoil of human consciousness. Read between the lines of Henry James’s masterpiece in search of the true meaning of its central character’s secret. x
  • 21
    Joyce, “The Dead”
    Here, Professor Allen lays out the distinct narrative technique of “The Dead,” talks you through some of the key episodes in this beautiful short story, and guides you to a greater appreciation of the story’s moving closer. The result: a new, fresh way to read James Joyce’s classic modernist tale. x
  • 22
    Proust, The Lemoine Affair
    Experience Marcel Proust—best known for his massive and dense In Search of Lost Time—at his lightest and frothiest with his pastiche, The Lemoine Affair. It’s a chance for you to marvel at Proust’s ability to mime the styles of the giants of French literature, including Balzac, Flaubert, and Saint-Simon. x
  • 23
    Woolf, “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street”
    Before Virginia Woolf’s unforgettable novel Mrs. Dalloway, there was the short story that started it all: “Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street.” Come to see this day’s read as a stand-alone example of Woolf’s innovative way of representing human thought and experience through the power of the written word. x
  • 24
    McEwan, On Chesil Beach
    Professor Allen concludes her selection of short reads with On Chesil Beach, a 21st-century novel that probes the sexual and cultural mores of early 1960s England. Ian McEwan’s tragicomic work offers writing of extraordinary craft, beauty, and, most important, insight into the ways we can fail to communicate with one another. x
  • 25
    Cather, Alexander’s Bridge
    Professor Voth’s first selection of powerful and unforgettable day-long reads is Willa Cather’s often-overlooked first novel, Alexander’s Bridge. In this emotional story of a bridge engineer and his divided self, Cather crafts a gripping story about the loss of authentic identity and the inexorable (and sometimes fatal) pull of success. x
  • 26
    Lu Xun, Short Story Selections
    Continue pondering issues of identity in two short stories by the Chinese writer Lu Xun. “Diary of a Madman” centers on a paranoid who believes that everyone is plotting to eat him, while “Upstairs in a Wineshop” is an intriguing tale about a subtly tense meeting between two old school friends. x
  • 27
    Chopin, The Awakening
    Explore some of the different ways to approach and read Kate Chopin’s feminist novel The Awakening. Here, Professor Voth guides you through this powerful, provocative, and in some ways, controversial story of Edna Pontellier’s search for selfhood amid sharp tensions between her individualism, her gender, and her society. x
  • 28
    Melville, Billy Budd
    Billy Budd, which at first seems like a straightforward story of a sailor’s adventures, is anything but simple. In this engaging lecture, examine some of the questions and debates over the tale’s events, readers’ love-hate relationship with Captain Vere, and how Melville’s story is actually a story about reading. x
  • 29
    McCullers, Ballad of the Sad Café
    Why is this novel considered a “ballad,” and why has its narrative voice attracted such attention? How do Carson McCullers’s grotesque figures illustrate the book’s ideas about love? What are we to make of the work’s epilogue, told in the present tense? Find out in this lecture on Ballad of the Sad Café. x
  • 30
    Chekhov, Short Story Selections
    Dive into the pleasures and insights of two Anton Chekhov tales that throw startling light on the lives of women: “The Party” and “The Lady with the Dog.” Professor Voth shows how, in just one day, you can experience realist writing by one of Russia’s—and Western civilization’s—literary treasures. x
  • 31
    Hersey, Hiroshima
    Begin looking at day-long reads that use literary techniques to describe history. Your first work: John Hersey’s Hiroshima, a “nonfiction novel” that uses reportage and accounts of six survivors to create a stirring mosaic of life during and after the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. x
  • 32
    Satrapi, Persepolis
    Discover the literary merits of graphic novels with this lecture on Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, the author’s stark, black-and-white recounting of life during Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the subsequent Iran-Iraq War. You’ll delve into the interaction between public and private history, and the ways that our personal and national narratives are created. x
  • 33
    Jataka Story Selections
    Examine a collection of 547 stories about events in the life of the Buddha, a work known as the Jataka, which dates back to the 4th century C.E. Professor Voth focuses on two tales—featuring a rich Brahmin family and a bull ox—to illustrate how this work still speaks to us even today. x
  • 34
    Munro, Short Story Selections
    Why is Alice Munro considered one of the greatest living short story writers? Find out in this engrossing look at two of her masterpieces, “Walker Brothers Cowboy” and “The Peace of Utrecht”—both of which illustrate the richness and mystery to be found in even the most banal-seeming circumstances. x
  • 35
    Basho, The Narrow Road of the Interior
    Investigate a genre new to this course: the travel narrative. Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road of the Interior is both a travelogue and a book of haiku in which poetry and prose work together to help Basho relive the experiences of his literary predecessors and transform his own poetry as well. x
  • 36
    Sijie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
    End the course with Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, about two teenagers’ dramatic experiences during Mao’s Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. In particular, analyze the novel’s shocking ending and what it really suggests about the power of literature in the face of totalitarianism. x

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Your professors

Arnold Weinstein Grant L. Voth Emily Allen

Professor 1 of 3

Arnold Weinstein, Ph.D.
Brown University

Professor 2 of 3

Grant L. Voth, Ph.D.
Monterey Peninsula College

Professor 3 of 3

Emily Allen, Ph.D.
Purdue University
Dr. Arnold Weinstein is the Edna and Richard Salomon Distinguished Professor at Brown University, where he has been teaching for over 35 years. He earned his undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Princeton University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Among his many academic honors, research grants, and fellowships is the Younger Humanist Award from the National Endowment for...
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Dr. Grant L. Voth is Professor Emeritus at Monterey Peninsula College in California. He earned his M.A. in English Education from St. Thomas College in St. Paul, MN, and his Ph.D. in English from Purdue University. Throughout his distinguished career, Professor Voth has earned a host of teaching awards and accolades, including the Allen Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he was named Teacher of the Year by the...
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Professor Emily Allen is Associate Professor of English at Purdue University, where her primary scholarly area is 19th-century British literature, particularly the novel. She also teaches in the comparative literature, women's studies, and theory and cultural studies programs. Professor Allen received her bachelor's degree with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1986 and her master's degree, also with...
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A Day's Read is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 22.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed Feelings! Perfectly in tune with the title, this offering deals with short texts. It actually includes three series of twelve lectures, each by a different professor of English literature. All are certainly passionate readers but each has his or her own quirks. Professor Arnold Weinstein clearly is still a very strong believer in Freudian symbolism, Professor Emily Allen seems interested only in ground-breaking works and Professor Grant Voth has a definite tendency to overly analyse the pieces he presents and simply to be repetitious. Of course, this variety in personality and points of view aims at maintaining the listener’s interest. It results more in negatively affecting the unity of the course, making it feel to some extent as just one lecture after another, without any specific structure. Indeed, none of the three individual lecturers follows the same approach: Professor Weinstein announces a thematic organisation, Professor Allen simply alternates between works from France and Great Britain and Professor Voth evokes so many themes and sub-themes that he is difficult to follow. Though much emphasis is placed on love stories, there is some diversity in the typology of works discussed, especially by Professor Voth who presents a famous piece of journalism and a graphic novel. However, none of the three professors seem to consider than any detective story, biography, historical essay or sci-fi work is worthy of such an anthology. Potential buyers should be warned that a day’s read is often interpreted literally by the lecturers, that is, to a 12 or 15 hour effort. This is quite different from what many who are not literature professors may consider a day’s read: two or three hours stolen away from professional, family and household responsibilities. Despite definite shortcomings, this course will prove worthwhile to many as chances are high that the listener will be made aware of works of interest he or she had never heard of. In my case, these include «Lady Susan» by Jane Austen, «The Lemoine Affair» by Marcel Proust and «Hiroshima» by John Hersey.
Date published: 2015-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Listen in the car, read soon afterward As my title suggests, I've been listening to this program in my car and I read the books later at home or on my iPad . The course is a lovely introduction to each work and writer. As the course title suggests, one can easily plow through these works in a day, but I dare say, some of these works you will never forget. I just finished reading 'On Chesil Beach' and found this story of tragedy and regret deeply moving. But for this course, I probably would never read it. You won't necessarily enjoy reading every work in the course but I bet you will finish any story you start. For example, I can finally say I have finished a Kafka story!I have come to the conclusion that five pages is all that I want to read by him. But that said, I really enjoyed Prof. Weinstein's discussion of Kafka's story in the course. So, l hope this review has helped you evaluate whether or not this course is for you. One last thing: you could actually choose not to read the books and still find the discussion interesting. But the discussion will make you want to read these works..
Date published: 2014-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Great concept and great course. All three professors are interesting and thoughtful. It's great to have the top selections and perspectives from three professors instead of one.
Date published: 2014-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Surprise Star I bought this course because I'm a big fan of Professor Weinstein. While his lectures, as well as those of Professor Voth, are satisfactory, with different strengths and weaknesses, I want to focus on Professor Allen in this review. A couple of reviewers have criticized her as being politically correct. Well - I'm about as conservative as they come, and I found Professor Allen to be the surprise star of the show. First, and importantly, I appreciated each piece of literature she chose. Austen, Balzac, Stevenson, Wilde, James, Joyce, Proust, Woolf, and McEwen - what a fine selection! Her treatments of Joyce's "The Dead," Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street," and McEwen's "On Chesil Beach" were truly memorable to me. Second, she was enthusiastic in her teaching. This trait is often under appreciated, and it shouldn't be. The professor draws you powerfully into the text. This is a victory for the teacher and the learner, especially in literature. Third, Professor Allen does a superb job of balancing the lessons with the right mix of setting the context, laying out the plot, discussing character, and exploring her sense of the important meaning and value in the works. Fourth, as to this business of her being biased, I just don't see it. I understand the professor has a feminist inclination. But, actually unlike certain other (mostly male) professors on TGC's roster, Allen suggests her perspective but then swiftly gets to the task of providing profound and diverse dimension to her analysis. Her commitment to the deeper levels of the literature always seems to override any sort of possible attachment to an agenda. As a person who always has my antennae up for teachers who have a political agenda, I found Professor Allen's open, fresh, and ultimately literary approach to teaching exemplary and really rather anti-political. I, for one, would like to see more courses from her.
Date published: 2014-02-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Day's Read as a Homeschool course I bought this course and used it for my homeschool literature class for the school year. Each week, my son would read the book, listen to the lecture, and then write an essay about it, sometimes based on the questions in the guide, or more often, his independent ideas. Professor Weinstein, as others have stated already, was just great. He started off with Kafka's "A Country Doctor" which is a bizarre story on first read, but after the lecture, you understand it's like a literary Cubist painting. His lectures throughout were in that vein, always pointing out interesting tidbits you might not have noticed about each selection. I'm sorry to say this, but Professor Allen was just terrible, both in what she selected and how she discussed it. Her selections seemed forced into a "day's read," and were long and tedious. We suffered through Austen's worst novel, a Balzac novel with a trite "surprise" ending, Huysman's Against the Grain, and more. For the record, Against the Grain is _still_ a novel only a literature professor could love. To make things worse, she'd spend half the lecture recapping the book we'd just read! She's the kind of professor that makes you hate literature. I skipped over her James Joyce, Henry James, Proust and Woolf because I would like my son to love literature, not consider it a form of torture. Professor Voth also has the habit of recapping the book you just read, but his selections were especially inspired: a proto-feminist novel, new journalism, a graphic novel, Buddhist parables, Canadian gothic, a haiku novel. It overflowed into discussions around our dinner table, and some great essays. As Weinstein states, and Voth repeats at the end, you get a three-fer here with three different professors showing their different styles and choices of teaching literature. That said, it would have been a better course without Professor Allen, and for her, I gave this course less than the 5 either one of the other professors deserved.
Date published: 2013-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a ‘Delicious’ Trip! There is something for everyone in this course. It’s like a huge buffet table. Each professor gives a dozen lectures. It was easy and irresistible for me to choose a favorite professor among the three, and a favorite lecture among each professor’s dozen lectures. Weinstein walks away with the grand prize. I liked his other TTC courses, and he didn’t let me down in this one. His analysis of Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ especially resonated for me, and I’m sure it will be useful and appreciated by most listeners over 60 years of age. Why Hemingway’s literary stock has fallen is beyond me. Critics have been especially unkind to ‘Old Man.’ Dr. Weinstein does his best to set the record straight on this short classic. Professor Allen’s portion of the course is weighed down with ritualized, stale political correctness. As if by rote, she coldly lists the usual gang of villains in great literature. Using tired PC templates (racism, gender bias, exclusion, patriarchal imperialism, etc.) for her autopsy, Allen finds pitiful victims under every cultural rock. Yes, women were treated as ‘commodities.’ Okay, I got it! Allen finally comes alive in her last lecture, when she temporarily sets aside some of her PC tools. Her treatment of McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’ lets the fine short book speak for itself. Professor Voth earns Second Place among the trio. He is almost as good in ‘A Day’s Read’ as he is in his other TTC lectures. His analysis of John Hersey’s ‘Hiroshima’ is spectacularly well done. Hersey’s book is as important today as it was when first published in New Yorker magazine over 50 years ago. This lecture alone may be worth the price of the entire course. ‘A Day’s Read’ accomplishes its mission. Yes, in shorter works by gifted writers we can walk for a day in someone else’s shoes, try on a different identity, and see new and unusual (and often uncomfortable) worlds. The trip––and this course––is certainly worth taking.
Date published: 2012-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Day's Read After each of Emily Allen's lecture I went to the internet to buy the book she was discussing.
Date published: 2012-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Begone, Boring Commutes ! I loved these lectures --- deep, profound. happy, sad and some even haunting. No more boring commutes...
Date published: 2012-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but could be more adventurous This collection is a mixed bag. There are some offerings that are likely to be discoveries, yet many more that are well-known, if not too well-known (high school and freshman college standards). The lecturers sometimes try to make the old warhorses interesting by approaching them from an unusual angle, but given that there are only 36 selections, it can be tiring to sit through "that again" when you crave something new. And I could only wince to find that Chekov's Lady and the Dog was selected, rather than referenced in the much more powerful takeoff of that story: Lordan's Man with the Lapdog. That said, there are some beauties here likely to send you looking for the originals. High points: Vesaas, Coetzee, Meredith, Huysmans, Lu Xun & Hersey. I defy anyone not to feel chills over Weinstein's Ice Palace, laugh aloud along with Allen when she revels in Huysmans' humor & marvel at how long it took us to catch up to the Voth's Chinese master of derring-do.
Date published: 2012-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well presented Since Professor Weinstein's voice has been in my head recently, I decided to start with Professor Allen's section. She a gem. Her presentations are given with kindness and aplumb. The Great Courses must try to enlist her to present her own course perhaps on the Brontes. Professors Weinstein and Voth perform their usual magic in their presentations in A Day's Read
Date published: 2012-06-19
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  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_4, tr_18
  • loc_en_US, sid_2161, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 55.64ms

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