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( The Great Courses )        # of Discs: 18

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This Author: J. Rufus Fears
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Books That Have Made History by J. Rufus Fears

Books That Have Made History

Books That Can Change Your Life

by J. Rufus Fears

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
18 Hrs.
User Rating
  5.0  Stars Based on 2 ratings


What makes a written work eternal—its message still so fundamental to the way we live that it continues to speak to us, hundreds or thousands of years distant from the lifetime of its author?

Why do we still respond to an ancient Greek playwright's tale of the Titan so committed to humanity's survival that he is willing to endure eternal torture in his defiance of the gods? To the cold advice of a 16th-century Florentine exiled from the corridors of power? To the words of a World War I German veteran writing of the horrors of endless trench warfare?

Most important of all, what do such works—"Great Books" in every sense—mean to us? Can they deepen our self-knowledge and wisdom? Are our lives changed in any meaningful way by the experience of reading them?

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Reviews & Ratings
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Reviewer pgmd2
 February 17, 2006
Professor J. Rufus Fears from the University of Oklahoma has compiled a delightful course for anyone interested in reading great classical literature. The course was focused on some of the greatest works of literature such as Homer’s “Iliad”, Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”, William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, and the “Autobiography of Gandhi.

The main theme of this series of lectures was basically the “history of literature”, and the lectures were presented as a history lesson, rather than a literature analysis or review as one would expect.

However, even though Professor Rufus Fears used literature to present his history lesson, he also presents a lesson on philosophy as well. This seemed intentional, and was reflected in the way the people were able to overcome their problems in the past and succeed.

The lectures in this course was indeed quite motivational as seen in the works of Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”, “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, and in the “Autobiography of Gandhi”. It is definitely a course that anyone who enjoys great literature should listen to. The course was available on audio cd and on audio cassettes.

More Details

  • Published: 2002
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: B006717
Available On
Audio CD
18 Discs
6 Discs