Think you could do the reading for this class?

Discussion in 'TMB Book Club' started by TC, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. TC

    TC Nice fucking jeans dude
    Donor
    South Carolina GamecocksCarolina PanthersSeattle Supersonics

    [​IMG]

    UPDATE: Professor Goldfarb has since gotten in touch with us to let us know that Auden's course was indeed taught over the course of a single semester.

    Hey, kids, think you've got it tough?

    Poet W. H. Auden was a professor at the University of Michigan during the 1941-42 academic year, teaching "Fate and the Individual in European Literature." His syllabus required over 6,000 pages of reading includingDante's "The Divine Comedy," Dostoevsky's "The Brother'sKaramazov" andMelville's "Moby-Dick."

    Which would be awesome, were it not required for a single college course.

    The syllabus (first unearthed by the blog "more than 95 theses") identifies the reading list as being for the "first semester," but Professor Lisa Goldfarb, Associate Professor and Associate Dean at NYU's Gallatin School (and who is in the midst of writing essays on Auden), cautioned that the indication of "first semester" suggests that the course would have continued into the second.

    Nevertheless, 3,000 pages of Shakespeare and Sophocles in four months still sounds dense.

    "What I find fascinating about the syllabus is how much it reflects Auden's own overlapping interests in literature across genres - drama, lyric poetry, fiction - philosophy, and music," Goldfarb said. "He also includesso many of the figures he wrote about in his own prose and those to whom he refers in his poetry: especially "The Tempest" of Shakespeare; Kierkegaard, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Melville, Rilke, as well as the opera libretti on the syllabus.

    "By including such texts across disciplines - classical and modern literature, philosophy, music, anthropology, criticism - Auden seems to have aimed to educate his students deeply and broadly. He probably would have enjoyed working with students on the texts he so dearly loved."

    Auden't most famous academic post, perhaps, was at the New School, where he began teaching in 1946. The Shakespeare lectures he delivered there were published in a single volume in 1972.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pa...llege-courses-piece-cake-blog-entry-1.1639980
     
  2. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
    Donor
    North Carolina State WolfpackCharlotte HornetsWashington Football TeamEverton

    That's insane. I like how there's additional recommended reading too, as though those poor kids will be rushing off to read more.
     
  3. TC

    TC Nice fucking jeans dude
    Donor
    South Carolina GamecocksCarolina PanthersSeattle Supersonics

    I like to think everyone used to read like that but I have a feeling even turbo nerds at Michigan in the 1940s would have complained about this. The article I found this linked in though was about a new course at Oklahoma that's requiring people to read a fuckton like this and it's popular. It's taught by like 3 of the top professors at the school and they tell you it's gonna be the hardest class you've ever taken. ("Popular" as in they found 30 people to take it; not the whole school by any means. It is interesting though that when you reframe it as "this class is going to be hard" it makes some people actually want to take it)
     
    Tangman likes this.
  4. TC

    TC Nice fucking jeans dude
    Donor
    South Carolina GamecocksCarolina PanthersSeattle Supersonics

    Part about the class at Oklahoma
    That question, in fact, appears on the syllabus of LTRS 3803, the first part of the two-semester, team-taught course at the University of Oklahoma that goes against all the conventional wisdom. It’s modeled on Auden’s course, with a few changes. The instructors — Kyle Harper, a classicist and the university’s provost; the historian Wilfred McClay; and David Anderson, a professor of English — have spread it out over an entire year, and they’ve excised a few books (Dante’s Paradiso, Baudelaire and Rimbaud, Kafka). But they added The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Paradise Lost, Robinson Crusoe, Pride and Prejudice, Nietzsche, Invisible Man, and other 20th-century masterpieces such as Derek Walcott’s neo-Homeric epic Omeros. They dropped most of the operas but kept Don Giovanni and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. They speak frankly in the course description of taking "delight in the Western canon" and hold fast to themes of little currency in the research world: destiny, God and "the gods," a meaningful life, authority.

    When enrollment opened last semester, the unexpected happened. The course filled up within minutes. Harper had already warned his students, "This is the hardest class you will ever take." The syllabus was posted online in advance, so that students knew exactly what they were getting into. The course meets a general-education requirement at Oklahoma, but so do many other courses with half the workload. To accommodate the unexpected demand, the class was expanded from 22 to 30 students, the maximum number that the assigned classroom could hold.

    I sat in on a class in October. McClay lectured on Inferno. The atmosphere was genial but focused. You can tell after five minutes whether a class has an esprit de corps — no sullen faces, no eyes drifting to windows and cellphones, even the bad jokes get a laugh. McClay slid from Augustine to Bonaventura to Jesus, Jonah, Exodus, and the prodigal son before taking up Paolo and Francesca, and then the suicides, sodomites, murderers, and frauds in Dante’s torture zones.

    After class, about half of the students and I headed over to the dining room at Dunham College, one of Oklahoma’s graceful new residential colleges, for lunch. There, without the professors present, I asked the key question: Why did they sign up for Western-civ boot camp?

    One fellow grumbled that he had to do three times as much work as he did in his other classes. The rest nodded. But you could hear in his words the self-respect that comes from doing more work than the norm, from climbing the highest hill while your peers dog it. Another student said that the page-count of the syllabus had flattered her, that it showed the professors respected her enough to demand that she take on a heavy load of historic literature. "This is what I came to college for," another said. One more chimed in, "This class is changing my life."
    :blessed:

    They acknowledged, too, the distinctiveness of the works they read, one student calling them a "foundation" for things they study elsewhere. They admired the professors, to be sure, but the real draw was the material. When I asked what they would change about the course, they went straight to the books: add The Iliad and some of the Bible.

    Their attitude was enlivening. But the only thing that really matters is enrollment. "Will you sign up for next semester’s course?" I asked. "Definitely," they replied, all of them. (This semester has 32 students enrolled, more than the original cap of 22 because many more petitioned to get in.)
     
    Tangman likes this.
  5. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
    Donor
    North Carolina State WolfpackCharlotte HornetsWashington Football TeamEverton

    At this point in my life that class sounds awesome but I was lazy in college and would have avoided it.

    I also wouldn't have predicted that this class would exist in Oklahoma.
     
  6. RegimentML

    RegimentML Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Oklahoma City ThunderOklahoma SoonersUnited States Men's National Soccer Team

    I've met Kyle Harper. He's a classics professor at OU.

    /Coolstory
     
    TC likes this.
  7. TC

    TC Nice fucking jeans dude
    Donor
    South Carolina GamecocksCarolina PanthersSeattle Supersonics

    I read 2 stories about OU this am. This one was cool. The one about an oil guy becoming president, not so much. Par for the course though
     
  8. RegimentML

    RegimentML Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Oklahoma City ThunderOklahoma SoonersUnited States Men's National Soccer Team

    Hey if you donate 30 mil you too can be a college president
     
  9. lhprop1

    lhprop1 Fullsterkur
    Staff Donor
    Minnesota Golden Gophers

    I could take that class if it was the one and only thing I did that semester. And by "one and only thing", I mean that I wouldn't be able to eat, sleep, shower, etc.
     
  10. TC

    TC Nice fucking jeans dude
    Donor
    South Carolina GamecocksCarolina PanthersSeattle Supersonics

    Sounds like fun to me. We're Mainboarders, what are we doing wasting our lives working? We should retire on our great fortunes and get together to form MBU. I'd love to have a dbl or watson in my Great Books course