THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER
At the age of forty-eight, writer and film critic David Denby returned to Columbia University and re-enrolled in two core courses in Western civilization to confront the literary and philosophical masterpieces -- the "great books" -- that are now at the heart of the culture wars. In Great Books, he leads us on a glorious tour, a rediscovery and celebration of such authors as Homer and Boccaccio, Locke and Nietzsche. Conrad and Woolf. The resulting personal odyssey is an engaging blend of self-discovery, cultural commentary, reporting, criticism, and autobiography -- an inspiration for anyone in love with the written word.
David Denby, New York city movie critic and journalist, entered Columbia University in 1991 to take the university's famous course in "Great Books." This is the course that, in preserving the notion of the western canon without apology to multiculturalists and feminists, has been an unlikely focus of America's culture war in recent years. Where other universities have caved in and revised or enlarged the canon, Columbia's course has remained intact. Denby's intention as a writer and protagonist in the culture war was to record the experience and the personal impact of the course. He has produced a cry from the heart in favor of the classics of western civilization, relaying with infectious enthusiasm how literature touched his soul.