Best Sellers Throughout History, Part 2: The 1960s
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Osher (50+). In this course, we read selected bestsellers from the 1960s with an eye toward what they reveal about society at that time.
About this course:
Whatever its literary merits, bestsellers must catch the imagination of the reading public in spectacular ways, though a work may not be a bestseller in its own day. Historical bestsellers are fascinating because they provide a window on changing tastes and values. In this course, we read works from the 1960s and discuss what they reveal about society from the mid-twentieth century on. These works include J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, an amusing Zen tale that examines existential crises; Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a powerful novel about rape and racial inequality; and John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, whose central themes are the consequences of financial pressure, treated in a modernist style. We end with Erich Segal’s Love Story, an American romantic fantasy from the very end of the '60s.