Crash Course Literature 2 Preview

Hey, I’m John Green, and this WILL be Crash
Course Literature, but not for two weeks, because I have to give you your reading list,
so you can like, you know, read the things that we’re going to talk about! I enjoyed spinning, so I’m going to do that
again. Your first book? The Odyssey by Homer. No,
Stan, come on. Homer. Yes, the one with all of the blood and misogyny. And then we’ve
got Oedipus, by Sophocles, everybody’s favorite play about patricide and incest. Speaking
of murder, third we have Hamlet, by William Shakespeare That was one too many spins and
I don’t feel so good. Fourth on your reading list, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, my all-time
favorite novel about industrialization. Then we’ll be reading Charlotte Brontë’s
brilliant and tubercular masterpiece Jane Eyre. Sixth, we’ll be reading Chinua Achebe’s Things
Fall Apart. Then we have To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper
Lee, the Boo Radley of American literature. Then comes the World War II novel Slaughterhouse
Five by Kurt Vonnegut. And lastly, we’ll be reading one of my favorite
American novels, Beloved by Toni Morrison. You can find links to get all of these books,
many of which are free, in the video info below. And we’ll probably also be reading some poetry,
but I don’t know what yet. Anyway, thank you for watching, get to reading,
and we say in my hometown, do too many spins and you will eventually vomit. [Stan talks in background] John: Okay, okay. He barely murders anyone
in that play, really. He doesn’t have the courage. Stan: …straight-out, he kills Polonius straight-out. John: Doesn’t he kill Polonius through a,
uh… through a curtain by accident? Stan: He’s stabbing someone. I mean… John: He thinks he’s stabbing his dad. Stan: Right. His stepdad. John: Yeah, he kills the wrong dude. Stan: That’s… the murder. John: Stan and I are fighting about whether
Hamlet really murders anybody in Hamlet. Stan: …in a month or so. John: We should put that in… at the end
of the video. Stan: Yeah, yeah. John: The video should end with us doing this
right now. Stan: Okay. John: This should be the end.

98 Replies to “Crash Course Literature 2 Preview

  1. Since they're in the public domain, the first five of these are in audiobook format on And the rest are probably at a local library. Just FYI if, like me, you only have time for audiobooks.

  2. you should talk about devotion upon emergent occasions meditation XVII by John Done it is an excellent poem best of luck.   


  4. why are we reading so much english literature? Homer oedipus and a lot of english stuff there is so much amazing literature as i german of course think of goethe and schiller but every country has its own great authors. you have so many non american fans please think more about them.

  5. I screamed when I saw "Things Fall Apart" because it is the single best most beautifully written most brilliant book ever!!!!!!! RIP Chinua Achebe, that man was a gift to literature.

  6. I have exactly one piece of advice, Mr. Green. Edgar Allen Poe. Problem solved. 🙂 That would actually make for a REALLY morbid, grim episode. /:

  7. I love the list. If I could add one book it would be Fahrenheit 451 since you already covered it on Vlogbrothers. This would be an opportunity to do it more professionally.

  8. I am happy to say I have read all but Frankenstein and Jane Eyre, which I should really get to. I was blessed with excellent high school and college lit teachers (and parents). Eeeeee,Can't wait

  9. While it's possible to argue that Frankenstein is an allegorical text that deals with industrialisation, the underpinning themes can be cited as the idea of playing God ("they will bless me as their creator and source") and subsequent dereliction of duties, love as a duty and deathbed injunctions and support for the Romantic movement through the graphic descriptions of man analysing every facet of nature's being. Just my view, and keep in mind that these are quite subtle themes!

  10. Actus reus of murder: causing the death of a human being. For causation, 'but for the defendant's actions the victim would not have died'. But for Hamlet stabbing Polonius he would not have died. There were no intervening acts between the stabbing and the death so Actus Reus satisfied.
    Mens Rea for murder : 'malice aforethought'. Hamlet did not intend to kill Polonius, he intended to kill Claudius. However, applying the ruling in R v Latimer we can transfer the malice and the Mens Rea is satisfied.
    There may be a defence of diminished responsibility that would reduce the charge to one of homicide, but that really depends on your interpretation of the text as to whether Hamlet is actually insane or just pretending. 
    Conclusion: Stan right, John Green wrong. 

  11. The Hollow Men!  And maybe some Christina Rossetti and e.e. cummings!  Or Langston Hughes!  Gwendolyn Brooks!  There are so many poetry options here!

  12. John, I just wanted to say I admire your work. I live in Costa Rica and a couple of my friend have grown very fond of this Channel's video series, which is why, when browsing through a book store in a mall here, I can't explain the excitement I felt when I found the Fault in Our Stars on the shelf. I was all like "Dude! This is the book by John Green from Crash Course History!", needless to say I bought it and I look forward to reading when I get through my current reading list.

    I am proud of you man. Kudos.

  13. I know this is mostly about classics, and public domain books make the series more accessible, but I'd really like to hear what you have to say about recent works like The Road, 1Q84, or House of Leaves.  Also, I know the series probably won't run that long, but a Halloween episode on H.P. Lovecraft or Stephen King would be amazing.

  14. I'm glad it's not just literature from English speaking countries, but will there ever be any newer literature from outside the English-speaking world? Translated versions, of course, but.. Ibsen? Astrid Lindgren? Yan Lianke? Mo Yan?

  15. Note to self; read the discription all the way down. 😛 I was in the process of writing a long comment (if not a medium sized novel) about how you can get most of the oldest books for free. =^_^=

    Though, I feel that should have been mentioned in the video. There's always a suprising number of people who doesn't even know that. :/


  17. Great list! Anyway, I am going to read Hamlet soon (I have my own list) just for pleasure but not for studying, so I cannot wait to start watching second literature course! 🙂

  18. I have definitely read all of those except Slaughterhouse Five, loved all of them except Beloved, which I really did NOT like 🙁 Maybe John can redeem it for me.

  19. are there any plans to have a series doing a relatively robust and complete poetry analysis of famous poems, one per episode?

    meter, tone, structure, rhyme, figurative language, allusions and references, literary context, etc. etc.?

  20. If there's a third season, perhaps do Tale of Genji? it's the world's first 'novel' and is an epic tale of love and loss

  21. Ha, nice. I've already read half of those. Less homework for me 😛

    Who am I kidding, I'm not going to read the ones I haven't (I'm doing law, so I have enough reading as it is) but I WILL be looking forward to the series!

  22. OMG! PLEASE PLEASE PLEEEEAAASE hurry with Hamlet. I'm studying it in a few weeks for school and it would be the biggest help. THANKYOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Hamlet's murdering totally counts.
    The doctrine of transferred intent means that if Hamlet is trying to intentionally kill a person but misses his target and ends up killing someone else, then the intent to kill the first person "transfers" to the killing of the second person and that killing counts as murder.

  24. If you are going to do poetry you cannot pass up Tennyson or the Browning's …. Elizabeth is better…… yea I said it.

  25. This is awesome! I remember reading Hamlet and my class was so behind that me and my friends made up Samlet, Hamlets lesser known brother. 🙂

  26. Calling Lee the Boo Radley of American Literature is actually surprising accurate. Although I don't think anyone accused her of murder…..

  27. If I could make a suggestion for a future reading list…
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Alternative: Grapes of Wrath)
    Othello by William Shakespeare (Alternative: Macbeth) Gotta keep up the Shakespearean tradition
    1984 by George Orwell (Alternate: Animal Farm)
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Alternate: A Tale of Two Cities)
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    Night by Elie Wiesel
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    And finally Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Just some suggestions.

  28. Can you please do more Dickinson? She is my favorite poet, and I really enjoyed your video on her "Before I Got My Eye Put Out". Also, if you do a Literature 3 it would be awesome if you did Catch 22–which is the best book ever besides Hamlet, which you are already doing 🙂  

  29. Could we add in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for the future reading list if there is one? I would love to see your view on it! 🙂

  30. Would you ever consider doing a Crash Course Literature – Theatre? I feel like there are some amazing plays that aren't really read anymore because theatre is slowly receding into a niche market (for the majority). Hamlet of course is covered in this season of CCL but would you consider doing more?

    P.S. Before you attack me for discrediting and belittling theatre, please note that I am a playwright and actor – thus my interest in more theatre being read 🙂 
    Thank you

  31. I love this!  So fun.  Unfortunately, I can't teach any of these novels in Middle School.  They are all taught in High School.

  32. please please do a Tolstoy one !! ::::))))))))))))))))))))))  ^^

    ( ( ( ( ( …………Doestoyevsky, García Márquez, Cortázar, John Keats, Nietzsche, Bukowski, Oscar Wilde, –Anaïs Nin— … Hemingway…Twain, Goethe, Kafka, Poe, Whitman & Anne Frank? …… ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

    Best wishes.

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