Big Books

Open book on a table

This course introduces you to a number of important books in the Western tradition and will acquaint you with the historical, cultural, political and economic context of these works. In discussing these works, you will develop a keener appreciation of the various influences that we are subject to when we think about what it means to be human.

The book is one of the strongest and most lasting bearers of intellectual heritage. For centuries, human life, social debate, great ideas and revolutions have been codified in books to be activated by readers both near and far in time and space.

Big Books examines 14 works of paramount importance in Western history and explores their possible meanings. We will ask questions such as who reads and has read big books? What are the effects of these books on art, society or history in general? What do these works tell us about our past and present culture? And why are big books relevant to our future? These texts of major significance from literature, philosophy, the human sciences and politics will all be approached from a cultural and historical perspective.

28 August 2012