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Note: The next iteration of the MOOC, revised to include ten of Shelley's major works along with Prometheus Unbound, will run on Open Learning starting February 17th, 2017 and run until June 9th, 2017.
Over 8 weeks, we will encounter and discuss one long poem, Percy Shelley's Prometheus Unbound.
Shelley wrote this as a lyrical drama, most likely intending its performance primarily to be in the minds of his readers. Marcia Hepps, Peter Schwarz and Jim Schlatter of the Unbinding Prometheus team are producing an abridged live concert performance at Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania on September 18th, 2014. This course will make use of the performance video to consider and discuss aspects of the performance of Shelley's work. Additionally, Unbinding Prometheus is also producing a complete, unabridged studio recording of the entire poem. Our MOOC students will thus be able to utilise a complete, multi-part audio-video-text alignment to assist their studies.
Our video-recorded lessons are various. About half consist of a mix of short lectures, interviews and conversations with literary critics and scholars, poets, as well as philosophers, actors, directors, historians, and groups of students.
Another half are collaborative close seminar readings by the Unbinding Prometheus seminar group, led by Eric Alan Weinstein. These offer sample models of readers' engagement with, and interpretations of, this unique and powerful poem.
Finally, twice a week there will be opportunities to participate in live, global, online seminars where you get to join us, and become part of our course's shared video content. You do not need to participate in these live events if you would prefer not to---but we gently encourage you to do so. They're fun!
Unbinding Prometheus is a seven unit course, spread over seven weeks. Our eighth week is reserved for students who would like to write an essay (four days), and peer review essays by their fellow students (three days). The course is broken down as follows:
21st of November: Introduction to the course, Percy Shelley and to Prometheus Unbound
28th of November: Close reading of the first half of Act I
5th of December: Close reading of the second half of Act I
12th of December: Close reading of Act II
19th of December: Close reading of Act III
December 26th: Close reading of Act IV
January 2nd: Conclusion, Overview and Recap of Course
January 9th: 8th week, additional time to write an essay, and peer review three essays by your colleagues (500-1100 words).
Each week, we will have a series of questions to guide our mutual inquiry.
completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This was a terrific class! I was a bit nervous when I first signed on, as I knew nothing about Percy Shelley or 19th Century Romantic poetry – but my fears were assuaged pretty quickly. Professor Weinstein provided a wealth of introductory and background material in the first modules that got me up...
This was a terrific class! I was a bit nervous when I first signed on, as I knew nothing about Percy Shelley or 19th Century Romantic poetry – but my fears were assuaged pretty quickly. Professor Weinstein provided a wealth of introductory and background material in the first modules that got me up and running. The class was challenging, no doubt about it, but not so academically esoteric that I felt out of place.
The students ranged from a high level Shelley scholar to people like me with -0- background, and I have to say that I felt I really got to know a lot of the other students via the discussion forums. It did not feel like a “distance learning” experience; it felt up close and personal. Professor Weinstein was in the discussion forums often, responding to comments and adding “likes”. I got the feeling he read every comment that was posted. This is not a MOOC with a detached professor. He was right there in the trenches.
Professor Weinstein’s passion and enthusiasm for "Prometheus Unbound" shined through and perked me up even on days when I was feeling overwhelmed with other commitments. His syllabus was quite imaginative and far-reaching, including – as adjuncts to the in-depth investigation of "Prometheus Unbound" - a Pinter play, a Wallace Stevens poem, a William Burroughs excerpt, discussions about political dissent, heroism, social justice and more. All of this worked for me, because once I became immersed in "Prometheus Unbound" I began to see how its tentacles reach into the world I’m living in today, and how much of what Shelley was saying back in 1820 is relevant right now. I had no idea. Not to mention that it is beautiful poetry. Also, I have say that some of the imaginative exercises in this course are great for people who are not in the arts/humanities, because they require you to think outside the box, to really think creatively – something we could use more of in the business world and other fields.
completed this course, spending 20 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This was a very unusual course in the sense that the subject matter would not be familiar to many folks. The Instructor has chosen one of the most challenging but rewarding poems in the English Language...maybe ANY language. The programme of study is extremely well thought out. Knowing full well that...
This was a very unusual course in the sense that the subject matter would not be familiar to many folks. The Instructor has chosen one of the most challenging but rewarding poems in the English Language...maybe ANY language. The programme of study is extremely well thought out. Knowing full well that a lot of students would be approaching Shelley for the first time, Eric mapped out a very carefully layered introduction to the subject matter. A series of "Shelley in Context" modules that feature literally the who's who of Shelley studies provide an incredible backdrop to the study of this glorious poem.
Whether you are approaching this with a graduate background in the Romantic poets or because you just happen to like beautiful poetry you will find something for you. You will find your instructor to be fantastically welcoming, solicitous, caring and knowledgeable. he is one of those rare educators who can communicate an intensity of passion for the subject that is infectious.
I took this course the first time it was offered, those of you joining in the Winter of 2016 will have the benefit of going through the second time around. I know that Eric is brimming with ideas to make this already great course even better.
If I had a piece of advice to offer, I would suggest you grab one of the two brilliant Shelley biographies that are readily available. Holmes' "Shelley, The Pursuit" dates from the 70's and there is the more recent biography by Bieri. Both are immensely readable. I think having a grip on some facts about Shelley's life would really stand you in good stead.
I suggested the difficulty level was "Hard", but that is pretty much because I went at it pretty hard. It is one of those rare courses which you can drift through or dig deep and be equally rewarded. Hell, you will read some of the greatest poetry ever written!
This course was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with classmates, the close-reading class videos, the provocative questions, the really amazing creative activities that Eric Weinstein set up for each section of the course--which made the subject matter even more meaningful--and the...
This course was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with classmates, the close-reading class videos, the provocative questions, the really amazing creative activities that Eric Weinstein set up for each section of the course--which made the subject matter even more meaningful--and the guest scholars appearing in video. Is studying Shelley relevant today? As someone who knew barely anything at all about Shelley starting this course, I would say absolutely. One of the great themes running throughout the course was exploring moments in the poem and discussing their relevance to our world today. It is a very rewarding endeavor. I learned so much beyond the poem itself: William Blake, Aeschylus and Ancient Greek tragedy, mythologies (Ancient Greek, but other realms as well) important moments in the history of Western science, the growth of political rights in Britain in the 19th century, Mary Shelley, the Romantics . . . I could keep listing but I think you should take the course and find out for yourself!
I began participating in moocs in 2012. Unbinding Prometheus has been one of the most rewarding experiences.The very nature of the long poem lends itself to the best of what a mooc can be.The collective reading,over time,enables a continuing opening up of meaning.This learning is well facilitated by Professor Eric Alan Weinstein.Fascinating visiting scholars provide historical context as well as focused views into the poem.The comment section creates an intellectually safe environment in which students,together and with the professor,are able to explore our evolving understandings. I very much recommend this course.-Stephanie
This course was a lot of fun, but more than that, it led to overturning misconceptions of many years about the relevance and importance of Percy Shelley as a writer. It has taken over 150 years for this to occur, although I think some poets along the way have been aware and influenced by him. For anyone interested in Western literature, this course has much to reveal. The Western world is still coming to terms with the changes that came about in the 17th and 18th centuries, and this course sheds a great deal of light on these issues.
If you want a comprehensive look at the world, the lives, and the work of the Romantics, and Percy Shelley in particular, please take Eric Weinstein's course on Prometheus Unbounded. Although focusing on that one seminal work, you be introduced to much more of Shelley's work, as well as the work of his contemporaries. You will also learn a great deal about his personal life as well as his wife, Mary, author of Frankenstein, or the New Prometheus, and about Mary's remarkable mother as well.
I've really loved this course. I'm still hoping to complete it. I've loved Eric's personal attention to everyone - his deep understanding and passion for his subject and the variety of people and presentations. It's been a course like no other. We understand Shelley from many perspectives - his historical context, his peers, many erudite academics and from our own reading and participating. When you enter Eric's world you enter a community and you learn along with its members. I recommend it highly.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to study Prometheus Unbound with such talented and dedicated professors. Eric is superb, so knowledgable and approchable. The material that he put together is very comprehensive, drawing comparisons to other poems. I am glad that the class will be repeated, as this will give me more time to read the poem and fully participate. I appreciate that Eric and his staff take the time to participate in the forums and answer our questions. THANK YOU. I truly loved it.
This has been a long course that is finally coming to an end. I started it with no knowledge of Shelley and no expectations. Within days I was hooked. The amount of work that has been put in by Eric and his team, the constant personal support and the heop of other particopants have created not only a course but also a community. Simply wonderful.
Shelley's Prometheus Unbound has been a unique experience for study of the period, the poet and the Romantics in early 19th century. There was top quality seminars and discussions from outstanding experts, poets and academics. There was opportunity to study thoroughy. The posts were inspiring and deeply thoughtful. A great deal of work went in by all. A rich experience I recommend.
A great course which helped me think in different ways about a text (and a tale) that I did not know well. The assignments were intriguing, and I enjoyed the opportunity to be creative around the text (and beyond). While I was unable to finish because of professional commitments, I would love to finish the course at another time.
This is such an outstanding course, I hesitate to even call it a course, its really a lifestyle. The level and depth of the materials goes far and beyond most other MOOCs that I've taken, and I'm so glad that it will be repeated because I simply didn't budget enough time for all of the materials and can't wait to do it again.
I had tried to read Shelley's Prometheus Unbound more than once prior to this course but always found myself lost and frustrated. Taking this course was crucial to being able to really approach this amazing piece of art, appreciate it, and learn from it. This course is really a great gift to those who appreciate English literature.
Really impressive course on a difficult dramatic poem. Eric has clearly put a huge amount of thought and effort into putting this together. I discovered it late so I've had to dash through parts of it. I very much look forward to doing a future iteration in more detail.
Prometheus Course was wonderful. A great community of people to discuss the poems with and learn new things. Eric is a wonderful professor and always in the discussion forums and available to help! It's an amazing class. I'll be there next year when it starts again.
I am so enjoying my Prometheus experience with Dr Eric! I haven't completed the course YET but that isn't based on the class but personal issues. I never ever expected to learn so much not only about this epic work but also the rich history of the writer, his wife, England, politics of the time as well as other writers and relationships! Dr Eric mad this work come alive with his knowledge of the material as well as bringing to the table many other speakers and art works that contributed to my learning and understanding. I am forever grateful for his teaching and for making this course although large, seem very catered to the learner. Take this class. It I fantastic and well worth your time!!!
Terrific course on a difficult dramatic poem. Eric clearly put a huge amount of work into its preparation. I discovered the course late so I've had to dash through parts. I very much look forward to future iteration of the course.