Johns Hopkins Unversity
Great Books at Johns Hopkins
An introduction to the humanities at Johns Hopkins and an exploration of some of the Western world’s most important literary works of art.

Of Books, Bass Lines, and Bees

What do they have to do with Henry Purcell's
Dido and Aeneas
? Watch now and find out.
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What Students Are Saying:

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"Writing assignments allow strengthening and improvement of focus; discussion sections are open and dynamic; panels give various perspectives; online discussion boards if you are uncomfortable participating in class; exposure to a wide range of literary works; opera performances!"

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"In this class, students learn not only how to write an explication de texte (similar to close reading of a passage in a novel) at a college level but also get a taste of several different disciplines taught at Hopkins, including philosophy, music, and classical studies."

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"Heavy reading; interesting cross examination of very different texts with reference to each other.  This, in combination with professors from very different fields provides new insight into the readings."

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"Great Books offers a mix of different media to really immerse the students in the subject (i.e., scripts, operas, films, selected readings, discussions).  I really enjoyed this course and would recommend it."

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"Be prepared to read about 1 work a week.  If you enjoy the classics you will love this class."

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"Read many books, mostly from antiquity (Homer, Ovid, Virgil) and philosophy.  Get to hear operas and music theory (very interesting and different!).  Four different professors = four different perspectives, all very knowledgeable."

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"Reading intensive course with “Explication” style writing.  Exposure to different ideas and points of view from faculty from several different departments."

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"In this class, students learn not only how to write an explication de texte (similar to close reading of a passage in a novel) at a college level but also get a taste of several different disciplines taught at Hopkins, including philosophy, music, and classical studies."

About Great Books

Great Books at Hopkins is a course designed for first-year undergraduates that examines some of the greatest works of the literary and philosophical tradition in Europe and the Americas. With lectures, panel discussions, multimedia presentations, and small seminars, professors from a variety of academic disciplines lead students in exploring authors from Homer to the present.

Close reading and intensive writing instruction are hallmarks of the course, as is a varied reading list that includes Dante’s Inferno, Cervante’s Don Quixote, and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

The course features:

  • An emphasis on close readings, literary analysis and criticism, and student writing.
  • A multimedia approach (including some live opera performances).
  • Close interaction with accomplished Johns Hopkins faculty of diverse backgrounds in the humanities.