Introductory Note from Thomas Purifoy
I have to admit that I’m excited about this class. I haven’t read many of these books in some time, so it will be good to get back into them. I do recognize, however, that this is a fairly aggressive reading plan. In light of that, I’d encourage you to get as many of these books as possible and start reading. Much of this class will be about teaching you how to teach yourself (which is the main way I’ve learned), so start early.
Although I wish we had time to read everything, I don’t think we will. Nevertheless, if you start with The Odyssey (I’ve chosen one of the most respected verse translations) and plow through it, you’ll be able to get more out of the class because you’ll have covered more material. The more you’ll be able to read, the more you will understand. This will also enable you to get ahead and stay ahead.
As for the books themselves, I have provided a list of specific titles and versions. This is rather important in order to be on the same page. In a number of instances, I’ve requested Norton Critical editions since I’ll be teaching you how to use secondary sources for understanding literature. Introduction to the Classics is a good introduction to all sorts of important books and provides a Christian perspective on literature.
Finally, as to purchasing books, I know they can be expensive if New, so I’ve provided links to my favorite Used book sites, including links to the actual books themselves (often around $4 each). My hope is that you will not have to spend any more than $100-$150 or so for all the books. My hope is to expand your library with this class. Nevertheless, if cost poses a problem, just let me know.
We will also have regular writing assignments, although they will generally be short (a few pages) with the exception of perhaps one or two longer research papers on your favorite book from the semester. There are no in-class tests; instead, students will be graded on their short papers, presentations, and discussions. The goal of the class is to enjoy learning a lot, rather than worry about grades.
As I said before, I expect it to be a lot of reading. Some of it will be challenging, but I hope it stretches the mind God gave you.