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Publisher's Summary

These eight lectures are a celebration of humanity and the rich texture of human experience. They are a fascinating focus on the complex artistic representations of city life from the 18th to the 20th century. Join Professor Weinstein as he reveals the portraits of humanity that came from several of the period's greatest artists, writers, and thinkers.

Among them:

  • Painter Edvard Munch, who depicts the emptiness of urban living
  • Poet Charles Baudelaire, who celebrates how crowds impact his imagination
  • Author Daniel Defoe, who dramatizes the freedom the city offers people who want to change their identities
  • Author Theodore Dreiser, who views the city as a huge, brutal, industrial machine that systematically grinds up individuals
  • Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who believes that the city is like the mind: a receptacle for the past, as well as for hidden lives and passions

These lectures reveal several vital themes that appear in artists' subjective renderings of urban living: orientation (finding our way), the marketplace (exchanging goods and services), anonymity (experiencing solitude or freedom), encounters (fearing or connecting with others), history (maintaining contact with other times), and cultures (entering the cities' ever-changing cultural forms).

Why use art as a guide to city life? According to Professor Weinstein, "Art usually supports what we learn from scientific studies of urban life. Art provides us with something social science cannot: a subjective rendering of city experience that is not quantifiable. Such a depiction includes our fears, desires, and dreams. Art serves as a record for these experiences."

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1991 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1991 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living

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Not great but not bad either

It actually is a decent course it is just a little bit disjointed and somewhat not parallel with consecutive lessons.

4 people found this helpful

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Can't do it

I can usually stay with a Great Courses series, even if I disagree with a lecturer's point of view, or find his voice slightly grating. I could not make it through the first 30 minutes, as the professor went over and over - slowly and deliberately - the same four lines of a poem by Blake. Excruciating.

2 people found this helpful

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Kind of dry

it is however a really good series of lectures about art, landscapes and about city art. A lot is personal interpretation though but are interesting to hear.

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ok performance but garbled

liked the material but not the performance

would not recommend for the price or content

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  • Dee Hunt
  • 12-21-21

Poignant

I cannot get enough of this lecturer (his print books are wonderful too). The love and depth of feeling he has for literature is to be cherished. The peace and calm of his voice and delivery is always a comfort to return to. Excellent content too, you will be rushing off to the nearest city.