Great Great Courses

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I said I was going to write a blog post about my five favorite Great Courses lectures. So away we go… in no particular order…


Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome

Fun to hear about all the different sites and think about the people that lived then. Wish I had got the video version of this lecture.


Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines

Wonderful overview of computers and Artificial Intelligence. Searle’s Chinese Room Argument is brilliant. On a similar tack, I want to read Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind again.


Great Masters: Shostakovich – His Life and Music

The story of a composer who survived Stalin’s terror and lived into the early 197os. Think about some of your colleagues in whatever your vocation/job/craft is. Now imagine a sizable portion of them being executed by the state. I ended up getting a collection of his 15 Symphonies. The 10th Symphony is about Stalin – written right after he died. The 2nd movement “is a musical portrait of Stalin” – Shostakovich.  You can hear the menace in the 2nd movement:


Shakespeare’s Tragedies

Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus. Each of these plays had three or four lectures. Enjoyed these because they filled in a knowledge gap for me. Listened to the Macbeth lecture just before seeing play at Willamette University in Salem.


History of Ancient Egypt

Forty eight lectures starting from prehistoric Egypt and ending at Cleopatra. Sweeping overview. It is amazing to see how many years this covers. Cleopatra was roughly 2,000 years before today. The pyramids were built over 2,500 before her!

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