Summary

Can literature change our real world society? At its foundation, utopian and dystopian fiction asks a few seemingly simple questions aimed at doing just that. Who are we as a society? Who do we want to be? Who are we afraid we might become? When these questions are framed in the speculative versions of Heaven and Hell on earth, you won't find easy answers, but you will find tremendously insightful and often entertaining perspectives.
Utopian and dystopian writing sits at the crossroads of literature and other important academic disciplines such as philosophy, history, psychology, politics, and sociology. It serves as a useful tool to discuss our present condition and future prospects - to imagine a better tomorrow and warn of dangerous possibilities. To examine the future of mankind through detailed and fascinating stories that highlight and exploit our anxieties in adventurous, thought-provoking, and engaging ways. From Thomas More's foundational text Utopia published in 1516 to the 21st-century phenomenon of The Hunger Games, dive into stories that seek to find the best - and the worst - in humanity, with the hope of better understanding ourselves and the world. Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature delivers 24 illuminating lectures, led by Pamela Bedore, Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, which plunge you into the history and development of utopian ideas and their dystopian counterparts. You'll encounter some of the most powerful and influential texts in this genre as you travel centuries into the past and thousands of years into the future, through worlds that are beautiful, laughable, terrifying, and always thought-provoking.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2017 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 27-06-17

I have been challenged to rethink.

I've had trouble with this book. It has forced me to look again at some of my views & values regarding Gender types, Young adult literature and many of my political views. I have not always liked what I've heard, but isnt that the whole point?

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By M. Rogers on 10-07-18

An interesting cruise through the genre's key work

30 minute lectures on either an author or a single book. Interesting insights are provided on the genre, the human condition that leads to the creation of these stories, and the cultural norms that are reflected and questioned by the genre.

A good use of 12 hoirs of my life. Enjoyable and educational.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By N. H. on 06-04-17

A very enjoyable and educational audiobook

I won a free Audible credit from the Audiobook Addicts facebook group. I chose The Great Courses title Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature. I have enjoyed many of the Great Courses before and the topic really appealed to me. Professor Bedore does a fantastic job of presenting the material while keeping it very interesting for the listener. The course has twenty-four lessons totaling over twelve hours.

The course begins with a discussion of what Utopian and Dystopian mean. The next lesson starts the discussion of the first Utopian work by Thomas More. There are several lessons covering the other Utopian writers such as Swift and H. G. Wells. The course then moves on to the Dystopias. It covers much more than Orwell's 1984. The breath of the course is really amazing. It covers The Hunger Games and the Apocalyptic works of this century. The final lesson is on the future of the two genres.

The accompanied course guide, in Adobe pdf format, is amazing. It is over two hundred and forty pages of information. Each lesson has an outline of what is covered and a Suggested Reading section as well as Questions to consider. The Bibliography at the end is incredible. It is going to populate my to-read list for years to come.

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature was a very enjoyable and educational audiobook. I would recommend it for anyone who reads Utopian or Dystopian genres.

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36 of 38 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 03-10-17

Misleading title but interesting course

The title of the course was a little misleading. "A postmodern critic of Utopian and Dystopian Literature" would have been a better name. There is a slight political bias present but that was probably unavoidable due to the subject matter. I enjoyed the course and it helped me to see the genre differently.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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