The author, a longtime film critic, registered for the "Great Books" course at Columbia as a successful middle-aged journalist, to see what effect the culture wars had had on the academy, and to read a lot of famous classic works he had never encountered: Dante, Cervantes, Homer, Sappho, Hume, Montaigne, and so on. But he doesn't just summarize or even necessarily argue with mere texts; he tries to see what they might have to say to people today. The chapter on "King Lear," for example, goes into some depth about the death of Denby's father and its emotional repercussions. An inspiring read and spirited defense of "Western civilization."
This report prepared by David Loftus