Chicago and the "Great Books" | Newberry

Chicago and the "Great Books"

Thursday, February 27, 2014
(This program continues for multiple sessions)
Thursdays, February 27 – May 1

 6 – 7:30 pm

Led by Stuart Patterson

We will explore the “great books” as an educational, commercial, and cultural idea and the central role Chicago has played in promoting and adapting the great books concept, including at the University of Chicago, the Great Books Foundation, Shimer College, and the Newberry Library. The seminar will culminate in reading two “great” books–Plato’s Phaedrus and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own–both of which examine the role books play in our lives. The instructor will send preparatory readings in advance of the first session.

Stuart Patterson is an Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at Shimer College, where he teaches the great books curriculum.

Materials List

  • Alex Beam, A Great Idea at the Time (ISBN: 978-1586487768). Note: the Newberry Bookstore is unable to stock this text.
  • Plato, Phaedrus (ISBN: 978-0872202207).
  • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (ISBN: 978-1614272779).
  • An additional course packet, to be purchased in class.
  • Instructor will send preparatory readings in advance of first session.

Supplemental Readings:

  • Lee Morrissey, Debating the Canon (ISBN: 978-1403968203)

Readings for the First Session:

  • Note: Instructor will send preparatory readings in advance of first session. They will include:
  • Tim Lacy, “Dreams of a Democratic Culture: Revising the Origins of the Great Books Idea, 1869-1921”
  • Matthew Arnold, “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time”
  • John Erskine, “The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent”

CPDU credit for this course is available for Illinois teachers seeking recertification.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program.

Cost and Registration Information 

Ten sessions, $240.
Register online.