What is the Great Books Curriculum?
Think about your favorite childhood story: a book or a movie, perhaps even the lyrics to a song. What is it about that particular story that stays with you – a personal connectedness -- even into adulthood? Is it a memorable character? Or simply a wonderful line?
Great Books are like that one special book that each of us carry within us. Collectively, the classical works endear themselves not to a single life, but span the generations through time and across cultures. They become us, in both senses of the word: The classical works shape our civilization, and, in turn, enhance the realm of the human. To experience Homer’s Iliad is to understand the horrific waste of war, all wars; to hear Romeo and Juliet’s first words – a sonnet! – is to recall one’s own first blush of love. To be read aloud the opening lines of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (“I sing myself, and celebrate myself, / And what I assume you shall assume. . .) is to intuit what it is to be American.
Our country’s top universities have long offered seminars in the Great Books. And now, community colleges around the country have begun their own Great Books programs designed with our students in mind: transfer students, re-entry, international, each of you. City College has modeled its Great Books Curriculum on the nationally renowned program established at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago, Illinois. Learn more about the books that made us who we are, the Great Books!