Main DirectoryThis is the much-reduced home page for Great Books and World Literature courses taught by Jeremy Downes at Auburn University. You will find links to useful sites for students and teachers of literature. There are also direct links to some of my own course materials.
Why "Pretty Good Books"?There are any number of answers. The simplest and most important to me is the contrast between what humans tend to think of as significant (or "great") and the actual magnitude of time and space. In a ten billion-year-old universe, our 6000 year recorded history is less than an eyeblink; in the midst of fifty billion galaxies, in our little galaxy stuffed with stars, each star with its possible planets, and ours stuck out on a marginal spiralling arm . . . . Even "pretty good" seems to be reaching. There's more to the discussion, certainly, but keeping a commonsense perspective seems a pretty good place to start.
Last updated January 31st, 2005.