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This content is taken from the University of Bristol's online course, Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds Hi, as you can see, this week I am in one of the oldest libraries at the University of Bristol. We will be talking about three great books that emerged from three countries over different historical periods. Our journey starts with a Czech book titled ‘Spalovac mrtvol’ known as ‘The Cremator’ which was first published in 1967 and tells a story set during the Second World War. We will then move to France and learn more about the famous book ‘Les Miserables’ published in 1862. We then end our second week together in Italy with Dante’s ‘Inferno’ which was first published in the 14th century. We hope you enjoy being introduced to our highly diverse selection of books.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds My colleagues Rajendra, Bradley and Tristan who are experts on the Czech Republic, France and Italy have developed three great videos to offer you a taster of each book. These videos, together with some secondary texts, will give you a start in engaging with the books and maybe trigger in you the desire to read them cover to cover in your own time. Through books we can often unpack and understand key features and characteristics of a society and its culture. By the end of the week, you will have gained a deeper appreciation of how language is a useful source of information, but also how a book can be an important vehicle for social transformation.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds As you learn about the authors, plots and characters of the three different books, and new facts about the countries in which they were written, you will also see how these books generated and circulated ideas which could reinforce or even challenge the status quo within a nation and beyond. I hope you enjoy our second week and that you will actively take part in our online discussions. See you next week when we will be talking about monuments.

An overview of week 2 with Gloria

This video will tell you about the week ahead and our learning objectives.

It’s OK to pause the video or to watch it as many times as you like. The video subtitles do not show the accented characters, unfortunately. To see them you might like to refer to the transcript that is available below the video thumbnail - click ‘View transcript (PDF)’.

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This video is from the free online course:

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

University of Bristol