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MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Study Guide for the First Semester Middle Ages Year
Price: $49.95

These Study Guides are meant to be a companion to the Academy’s Great Books selections [organized in the manner of a four-year, eight-semester program at the secondary or college level]. In putting it together we were guided by two principles: 1) that we approach each work on its own terms in an effort to be faithful to its meaning and 2) that we also be aware of the larger tradition out of which the work came and which sets the terms, methods, and forms of the work. We wanted to avoid inserting any beliefs or opinions of our own on the work. We also wanted to do justice, where we could, to the deeper level of meaning that comes from seeing a work in the context of the tradition—science, philosophy, history, and literature—from which it was produced.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Study Guide for the Second Semester Middle Ages Year
Price: $49.95

These Study Guides are meant to be a companion to the Academy’s Great Books selections [organized in the manner of a four-year, eight-semester program at the secondary or college level]. In putting it together we were guided by two principles: 1) that we approach each work on its own terms in an effort to be faithful to its meaning and 2) that we also be aware of the larger tradition out of which the work came and which sets the terms, methods, and forms of the work. We wanted to avoid inserting any beliefs or opinions of our own on the work. We also wanted to do justice, where we could, to the deeper level of meaning that comes from seeing a work in the context of the tradition—science, philosophy, history, and literature—from which it was produced.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: A Midsummer's Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Price: $12.95

Shakespeare's incomparable romantic comedy takes on a new and vivid life with these brilliant images by one of the twentieth century's leading illustrators. The fairy world of A Midsummer Night's Dream is the perfect milieu for the artistry of Arthur Rackham, the popular illustrator of fairy tales who possessed a striking gift for depicting fanciful creatures. His dreamlike visions provide a series of unique portraits from the enchanted wood outside ancient Athens, where Oberon and Titania rule a kingdom of diminutive sprites. This faithful reprint offers a quality of printing and sharpness of reproduction that rivals the limited and first editions of 1908. Includes the complete text of the play.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare
Price: $12.99

Based on a pair of comic dramas from ancient Rome, The Comedy of Errors presents a spectacle of pure farce in the spirit of utmost fun and — as the title suggests — hilarious confusion. Two sets of identical twins provide the basis for ongoing incidents of mistaken identity, within a lively plot of quarrels, arrests, and a grand courtroom denouement. One of Shakespeare's earliest dramatic efforts, the play abounds in his trademark conceits, puns, and other forms of fanciful wordplay. It also foreshadows his later and greater comedies, offering students and scholars a valuable key to the playwright's development.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Price: $19.95

Geoffrey Chaucer pursued many occupations during his life: soldier, diplomat, intelligence officer, construction supervisor, Controller of Customs, and member of Parliament. Yet, it is for his literary accomplishments that he has achieved enduring fame. The Canterbury Tales, never completed, represents his magnum opus and the crowning achievement of his life. He began work on The Canterbury Tales about 1387, and intended for each of his thirty pilgrims to tell four tales, two while traveling to Canterbury and two while traveling from Canterbury. However, only twenty-three pilgrims received a story before Chaucer's death in 1400. Chaucer's Tales quickly spread throughout England in the early fifteenth century. Scholars feel The Canterbury Tales reached their instant and continued success because of their accurate and oftentimes vivid portrayal of human nature, unchanged through 600 years since Chaucer's time. George Macy, founder of The Limited Editions Club wrote on The Canterbury Tales: . . . it has been said of The Canterbury Tales that all of humanity moves through its pages. The stories are full of an inimitable humor, at once friendly and shrewd. The points are often made casually, often with bludgeon strokes, but they are always human and illuminating. Emerging from the manuscript tradition, early printed editions of Chaucer borrowed heavily from the elaborate illustrations found in manuscript copies. This tradition has continued throughout the history of Chaucer editions, until the twentieth century when production costs and larger press runs made illustrations prohibitively expensive.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Complete Essays by Montaigne
Price: $34.95

The book is a collection of a large number of short subjective treatments of various topics. Montaigne's stated goal is to describe man, and especially himself, with utter frankness. He finds the great variety and volatility of human nature to be its most basic features. He describes his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disdain for man's pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for death. He writes about his disgust with the religious conflicts of his time, his belief that humans are not able to attain true certainty (skepticism), and even alludes to cultural relativism, all rather modern notions. His long "Apology for Raymond Sebond" contains his famous motto, "What do I know?". Montaigne considered marriage necessary for the raising of children, but disliked the strong feelings of romantic love as being detrimental to true freedom. In education, he favored concrete examples and experience over the teaching of abstract knowledge that has to be accepted uncritically.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
Price: $9.95

A highly political play, Coriolanus concerns a military hero of ancient Rome who attempts to shift from his career as a general to become a candidate for public office--a disastrous move that leads to his collaborating with the enemy and heading an attack on Rome. Despite his battlefield confidence and accomplishments, Coriolanus proves psychologically ill-suited as a candidate for the office of consul and makes an easy scapegoat for the restless citizenry and his political opponents. The last of Shakespeare's tragedies, Coriolanus was written in approximately 1608 and derived from Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. A timeless tale of pride, revenge, and political chicanery, it remains ever-relevant for modern readers and audiences.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences by Galileo
Price: $29.95

The first few lines....The constant activity which you Venetians display in your famous arsenal suggests to the studious mind a large field for investigation, especially that part of the work which involves mechanics; for in this department all types of instruments and machines are constantly being constructed by many artisans, among whom there must be some who, partly by inherited experience and partly by their own observations, have become highly expert and clever in explanation.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Don Quixote by Cervantes
Price: $19.95

Edith Grossman's definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece. Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. You haven't experienced Don Quixote in English until you've read this masterful translation.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Discourse on Method and Meditations by Descartes
Price: $29.95

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy is a work by Rene Descartes now brought to you in this new edition of the timeless classic.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Institutes of the Christian Religion - Calvin
Price: $29.95

This abridged edition of the Institutes provides a readable and inexpensive sampler of Calvin's greatest work. Lane has condensed the 1559 edition, retaining the heart of Calvin's teachings on all his major themes.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Henry V by William Shakespeare
Price: $9.95

This popular, much-studied drama focuses on the young warrior king--from Henry's decision to continue the military exploits of his royal ancestors and press England's claim to the French throne, to his nervous watch before the Battle of Agincourt and his role in one of the greatest military triumphs in English history. Shakespeare's highly charged drama is required reading in English literature classes at the high school and college levels.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Price: $12.95

Based on Plutarch's account of the lives of Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony, Julius Caesar was the first of Shakespeare's Roman history plays. Presented for the first time in 1599, the play reveals the great dramatist's consummate ability to explore and express the most profound human emotions and instincts. So clearly and urgently does it impact its insights into history and human behavior, Julius Caesar is traditionally among the first of Shakespeare's plays to be studied at the secondary-school level. In addition to its compelling insights into the human condition, Julius Caesar is also superb drama, as Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators hatch a plot to overthrow Caesar, dictator of Rome. After Caesar is assassinated, Mark Antony cleverly turns the crowd against the conspirators in one of the most famous speeches in literature. In the civil war that follows, the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar eventually win out over the armies of Cassius and Brutus. Humiliated and desperate, both conspirators choose to end their lives. These tragic events unfold in a riveting dramatic spectacle that also raises profound questions about power, government, ethics, and loyalty. Now this great tragedy is available in this inexpensive edition, complete and unabridged with explanatory footnotes.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Leviathan by Hobbes
Price: $19.95

Viewing politics as a science capable of the same axiomatic approach as mathematics, Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan" retains its appeal for the modern reader, not just in its elevation of politics to a science, but in its overriding concern for peace. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by C.B. Macpherson. Written during the turmoil of the English Civil War, "Leviathan" is an ambitious and highly original work of political philosophy. Claiming that man's essential nature is competitive and selfish, Hobbes formulates the case for a powerful sovereign or 'Leviathan' to enforce peace and the law, substituting security for the 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short' life he believed human beings would otherwise experience. This world view shocked many of Hobbes' contemporaries, and his work was publicly burnt for sedition and blasphemy when it was first published. But in his rejection of Aristotle's view of man as a naturally social being, and in his painstaking analysis of the ways in which society can and should function, Hobbes opened up a new world of political science
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Copernicus
Price: $18.95

Nicholas Copernicus was born February 19, 1473, in Poland. He entered the University of Krakow in 1491, then in 1495 went to Padua and studied medicine. In 1500 he was called to Rome and took the chair of mathematics there. He began to believe that the earth went round the sun about 1507 and from that time until his death worked, more or less intermittently, on his exposition of his theory. He delayed the publication of this exposition because of fear of being accused of heresy. Copernicus died May 24, 1543, just as his book was published. The knowledge of the time was not sufficient to prove his theory; his great argument for it was from its simplicity as compared to the epicycle hypothesis. In 1514, Copernicus privately circulated an outline of his thesis on planetary motion, but actual publication of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) containing his mathematical proofs did not occur until 1543, after a supporter named Rheticus had impatiently taken it upon himself to publish a brief description of the Copernican system (Narratio prima) in 1541. Most of De revolutionibus requires a great deal of the modem reader, since sixteenth century methods of mathematical proofs are quite foreign to us; this is evident in the section of Book VI that is included. However, Book I and Copernicus' preface are more readily accessible. It must be noted that the foreword by Andreas Osiander was not authorized Copernicus, and that Osiander, who oversaw the book's printing, included it without the author's knowledge and without identifying Osiander as its author.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Paradise Lost by Milton
Price: $19.95

Paradise Lost, an epic poem in blank verse, written by the 17th-century poet John Milton as he became blind at the end of his life, is a retelling of the Biblical story of the Fall of Man. While based on the Christian tale, the poem incorporates many topics, and spends most of its verses detailing the journey of Satan and his war on the angels. The depiction of Adam and Eve draws an elaborate panorama of their trials. This classic of Western literature is wide-reaching and enormously influential, and should not be absent from the modern reader's bookshelf.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Pensees by Pascal
Price: $19.95

The Pensees is a collection of hundreds of notes made by Pascal, many of them intended for a book which would be a rational defense of Christianity. Pascal managed to organize and classify some notes before he died, but others remain unsorted, and the book he intended was never written.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Praise of Folly by Erasmus
Price: $18.95

The Praise of Folly is the best known work of the greatest of the renaissance humanists, Erasmus of Rotterdam. It is a fantasy which starts off as a learned frivolity but turns into a full-scale ironic encomium after the manner of the Greek satirist Lucian, the first and in its way the finest example of a new form of renaissance satire. It ends with a straightforward and touching statement of the Christian ideals which Erasmus shared notably with his English friends, John Colet and Thomas More.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Price: $12.95

Tragicomic drama of love, wealth and justice revolves around a Venetian moneylender's bargain with a young merchant for "a pound of flesh."
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: The New Atlantis & Novum Organum by Bacon
Price: $34.95

One of the major political figures of his time, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) served in the court of Elizabeth I and ultimately became Lord Chancellor under James I in 1617. A scholar, wit, lawyer and statesman, he wrote widely on politics, philosophy and science - declaring early in his career that 'I have taken all knowledge as my province'. In this, his most famous work, he considers a diverse range of subjects, such as death and marriage, ambition and atheism, in prose that is vibrant and rich in Renaissance learning. Bacon believed that rhetoric - the force of eloquence and persuasion - could lead the mind to the pure light of reason, and his own rhetorical genius is nowhere better expressed than in these vivid essays.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: The Prince by Machiavelli
Price: $9.95

Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government, and is the ultimate book on power politics.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will by William Shakespeare
Price: $9.95

A delightfully comic tale of mistaken identities, Twelfth Night revolves around the physical likeness between Sebastian and his twin sister, Viola, each of whom, when separated after a shipwreck, believes the other to be dead. The theatrical romp begins when Viola assumes the identity of Cesario, a page in the household of the Duke of Orsino. The Duke is enamored of the Countess Olivia, who spurns him for the newly arrived young page. The comical machinations of Malvolio, Sir Toby Belch, the maid Maria, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek add to the ensuing confusion — all of which is pleasantly resolved when Viola and Sebastian meet once again. Filled with some of the finest comedic scenes in the English language, this entertaining masterpiece remains one of Shakespeare's most popular and most performed comedies.
MIDDLE AGES YEAR: Utopia by Sir Thomas More
Price: $9.95

Sir Thomas More (later canonized St. Thomas More) is famous for his book Utopia (1515) and for his martyrdom. As Chancellor to Henry VIII he refused to sanction Henry's divorce of Queen Catherine. More was imprisoned, tried and executed. This drama was made into a play and an excellent (though not historically accurate) film - A Man of for All Seasons. More is an excellent example of the early English Renaissance. He was friends with such humanists as Erasmus, John Colet, Thomas Linacre and others. Renaisance thinkers were mainly concerned with four ancient schools -- Aristotelianism, Platonism, Stoicism and Epicureanism. The alliance between Platonism and Christianity was as old as Saint Augustine, but had been revived in the Renaissance by Marsilio Ficino. Aristotle had been Christianized by St Thoma Aquinas. Christianity and Stoicism had many close connections from early on. Epicureanism was being Christianized by Lorenzo Valla and Erasmus. This process was to be continued by Pierre Gassendi. More coined the term "utopia" which is a pun meaning both "good place" and "no place." More's Utopia is discovered on a voyage to the newly discovered Americas. It is thus one of the first books to invoke the analogy between the great voyages of discovery and discoveries of the mind. Plato's Republic and the Laws provide models for More's reflections on the good citizen and the good state, but More's Utopia is significantly different from these models and blends a variety of philosophical influences. In contrast to the Platonic Republic, More's society is a communistic democracy and not an aristocracy with communism confined to the ruling elite. The new emphasis on the philosophy of pleasure comes from More's understanding of Epicureanism. From the Stoics More gets the notions that mankind form a natural commnnity and the assumed existance of natural law. More's Utopia established the genre of philosophical utopias much the way in which Montaigne and Bacon established the essay as a philosophical form.
   
 
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