By David Denby
Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9780684835334, 496pp.
Publication Date: September 25, 1997
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.
Joyce Carol Oates
The New York Times Book Review
A lively adventure of the mind....The tone of the prose...is one of unqualified enthusiasm: energy, vigor, intellectual curiosity, and what might be called an ecstasy of imaginative journalism.
Chicago Tribune Books
He sustains a variety of tone, subject matter and approach that keeps Great Books alluring and readable throughout...I was torn between getting out a copy of the book he had just discussed and reading it and going on with Denby. In every case. I went on with Denby.
What Mr. Denby has written is a book filled with keen literary and social observation, which captures the excitement of exploration and discovery. This is a wonderful book.