Great Books 102: Renaissance to Modern

Introduction

Overview

One of the glories of the human soul is the ability to write and understand literature. The greatest works of literature reflect the complexities of an unchanging human nature through a consideration of timeless truths in a dramatic setting. Reading a great work of literature broadens your understanding of the world and of the good, toward which all human action should be directed.

Lecture

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Discussion Questions

  • How and why is literature a powerful tool for exploring human nature?
  • How can reading great books help one develop the virtue of prudence?
  • How does the study of great books help to direct our decisions toward the good, an end which exists outside of the scope of our actions?
  • Dr. Arnn suggests in his talk that the worlds found in great works of literature are "much like this world, only more so.” What does he mean by this?

Q & A Session

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Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, where he is also a professor of politics and history. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He also studied at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 to 2000, he served as president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He serves on several boards of directors, and he previously served on the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors for two years for which he earned the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2015, he received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. A member of numerous organizations including the Churchill Centre, he is the author of three books: Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It; and, most recently, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.