Crash Course Literature Preview

Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course Literature, and I’m back! Over the next ten weeks we’re going to read a bunch of books together. I got some of them right here. We’re going to read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Lord of the Flies by William Golding (my least favourite book) also Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and a bunch of books that aren’t currently on my bookshelf, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. and we’re gonna round out our reading list this year with One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, some Shakespeare sonnets, and a personal favorite of mine, Sula by Toni Morrison. So I’ve talked a little bit in the past about how and why we read, but as we go into this course I’d ask you to consider one big question: What in the heck do you mean when you talk about yourself? Like you — and this is not a compliment exactly, just an observation — are fiendishly complex. I mean, to borrow a phrase from Walt Whitman, you contain multitudes, right? And a lot of the adjectives that other
people apply to you, like, for instance, maybe they say that you’re smart or that you’re stupid, are insufficient. Because you know that you are both smart AND stupid. There are some facets of the universe that you understand clearly and with depth and others that baffle you. so you aren’t a collection of adjectives, at least not entirely. You also aren’t a body. I mean, you have a body and if you didn’t have it, you would cease to be you, but you aren’t your body. Like, for one thing, there are pieces of you outside of your body. You affect your friends and your family. You also make things that live outside of you, from poetry to artwork to initials carved into trees. And, not to sound too much like my brother over at Crash Course Philosophy, but the more we think about this question of what constitutes you, the more vexing it becomes. There are of course many joys to reading literature, but chief among them to me is that literature is a way of exploring and explaining the self, of understanding how we come to identify
ourselves and other people as human. For lack of a better term, how are you going to make yourself up? And how are you going to understand the even more complicated worlds of other people? And what are you going to do if the world refuses to acknowledge your personhood? Those are some of the questions at the heart of the books that we’re going to read, along with questions like, should you shoot your husband if he has rabies? Oh, love, you are so complicated and beautiful and deadly. Speaking of which, our first book will be Their Eyes Were Watching God. It’s a great one, so get to reading it, and I’ll see you next week! [Theme Music]

100 thoughts on “Crash Course Literature Preview

  1. I am currently reading Their Eyes Were Watching god, I am really enjoying it so far, but English is my second language and I am having a bit of a hard time understanding the characters when they speak. It's alright, tho, need to finish it before the episode comes out!

  2. Ugh, Invisible Man and One Hundred Years of Solitude are some of the most eye-crumblingly boring books I've ever read. The rest are good though 😀

  3. I disagree with the pessimistic worldview of LotF. I don't think that humanity degenerates into savagery by default, you only have to look at our modern world (which I accept has violence but) which has peace in the large part. Even if people are acting in pure self-interest, anarchy isn't beneficial to anyone.

    I'm sorry I yelled but you NEED to do more history. I don't care what but if you did please do the Tokugawa Aristocracy or Edo Period and it's cultural influences, what led to it, how it fell, etc. Please like if you agree. I really WANT them to see this.

  5. I'm sorry, but as long as its John Green, i'll watch it. I'm just not feeling the others. But Craig and Andre Meadows are cool.

  6. Woohoo! I've been waiting for a Crash Course Literature ever since season two ended (⑅˃◡˂⑅) Plus, JOHN GREEN YOU'RE BACK! (∩╹∀╹∩)*❤ I'm not sure why, but I'm more inclined to listen and learn when John Green is teaching (ex. US + World History and Literature). Overall, I'm really happy the Crash Course crew decided to resurrect this series! (◕‿◕✿) Hopefully, the producers will think about creating another history series as well! After all, my favorite subjects are literature and history haha! (´。• ᵕ •。`)

  7. Hey a quetion, when we get to HUndred years of solitude… well I am from Colombia, and I have the original in spanish, Is it okay if I do the course with the spanish book,? for me in the translation it losses something

  8. I missed the literature crash courses! A really good book to review is Pride and Prejudice. It has great themes and has really great look at how Victorian families viewed women and the concept of marriage. As well as wealth and what exactly an "accomplished" woman was

  9. I loved Lord of The Flies, the psychology behind it and the whole concept. it capture be higherachy very well. i mean yes a few negatives like the smart kid being pariahed and the senitive kid killed on accident by all the boys. …..actually I'll just wait to hear your thoughts

  10. When he said "Lord of the flies" I started rolling my eyes and then he added that it is his least favorite book. Now I have an evil pleased smile on my face.

  11. Good selection! You should talk about Poe, Chandler and Dovstoievsky, just to name a few.

    Thank you all for you incredible work and effort with Crash Course.

    Best wishes… G. S.

  12. You should consider doing a Crash Course: Mythology, maybe doing 2-3 parts on different ancient mythologies from around the world.

  13. Please maybe review the Oresteia if there is a future series of this. Or Robert Graves' Claudius novels or Count Belisarius.

  14. I'm so glad you're back, John! I love listening to you talk (Crash Course: US History is my favorite driving "music") and now we're going over more literature I never read. Thanks to you and this show I know what the Great Gatsby is and why it's important. I can't wait to see this new season!

    Maybe someday y'all will cover A Tale of Two Cities? I hated reading it but I'm sure your comments on it will be interesting. Lore of the Flies was also a hated book of mine, so this will be fun to watch.

  15. "To me Lord of the Flies has always represented what novels are for, what makes them indispensable." – Stephen King

  16. I remember reading Lord of the Flies, I didn't like it either. In that same class we also read The Poisonwood Bible and, I've no idea what it was about really.

  17. I couldn't find a playlist for this. If it's my mistake, sorry to bother, but maybe you are just waiting to accumulate some episodes before building it?
    Anyway, so glad Literature is getting a third round!

  18. Isn't your Earthling concept of "person" essentially a special case of your Earthling concept of "things"? Like, a person is a thing that has the potential of… I dunno… being stupid?

  19. Hey, if you haven't done it already you should do a video on The Poisonwood Bible or Montana 1948. Both were books I had to read in high school and while they aren't really considered classics, they do provide some interesting commentary on society and culture. Granted, both books are pretty depressing in their own right, but they are interesting reads.

  20. Hey +CrashCourse, you might want to have a look at the Literature 3 playlist. Looks like a few Philosophy, Physics, and Games videos got lumped in with it. 🙂

  21. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, my least favourite book!

    Words I have been waiting to hear ever since you first started doing these John.

  22. I've gotta be honest: out of all the books you've covered in Crash Course Literature, the only one I've actually ever read… is Lord of the Flies. And I actually quite enjoyed it, so…

  23. I have been blessed by a higher power because my AP Lit summer homework is about Invisible Man and Crash Course Literature will help me actually understand it

  24. As someone who has studied neurobiology, neuropharmacology and neurochemistry, as well as a specialization in genetics, I feel a slight inclination to disagree when you say I am not my body. lol.

  25. Do anybody know when Literature season 4 will start? My mind is telling me, that i heard John talking in an live stream about something this autum…

  26. You're exactly wrong about the not being your body thing. You are your body. You don't have a body, you are a body. The only way in which any of those utterances to the contrary can be charitably interpreted to have any meaning is through equivocation of the words being used. Or to put it another way, deepities. Metaphor, double meanings, and word play makes for good literature, but bad philosophy.

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