8 Books That Changed the World

Bard College

Joseph Luzzi (PhD, Yale) is Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, and he taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TLS, The London Times, the Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio. Dr. Luzzi’s awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He is the author of five books and recently created The Virtual Book Club: an international community of readers dedicated to exploring major literary works past and present.

 

Overview

What 8 books can change your life, the ones you would want to take to your “desert island”? This presentation about the books that changed the world will unveil the mysteries of the Bible, Homer’s Odyssey, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet then closer to today Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. We will explore the creative processes behind these masterpieces as we trace their impact and develop reading skills to release their remarkable riches.
Professor Luzzi will show how these fascinating works help us understand some of the most pressing concerns today, including the nature of religious faith, questions of personal identity, even the quest for the American Dream. Participants will be encouraged to develop their own list of “essential reading,” as Professor Luzzi helps them acquire the skills necessary for enriching their encounters with books of all kinds.

Books that changed the world:

  • the Bible
  • Homer’s Odyssey
  • Dante’s Divine Comedy
  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse
  • Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.

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