If you’ve ever tried to rummage around in the Internet Archive for interesting courses and lectures, you know that it can be a profoundly frustrating experience. The Archive, a non-profit digital library, has vast collections of audio and video material, as well as its famous WayBackMachine that has stored snapshots of 150 billion web pages. But the Archive’s very size makes finding the good stuff a daunting task.
That’s why it’s so impressive that the bloggers at Whooshup have located some real gems. I’ve already mentioned the lectures by the late great Princeton philosophy professor Walter Kaufmann (1921-1980), and here are a couple more great vintage finds from Whooshup. (Note: it’s that content that’s impressive, not the audio quality.)
Allan Bloom’s “Philosophic Perspectives” lectures at Boston College (1983)
The late philosopher and critic Allan Bloom (1930-1992) spent most of his teaching career at Cornell University and University of Chicago. He won national fame in 1987 for his book, The Closing of the American Mind, which blasted trends in American higher education. In these lectures he talks about great thinkers like Socrates, Nietzsche and Machiavelli.
Allen Ginsburg – Course lectures (1976 – 1987)
Beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), best known for his poems Howl and Kaddish and for his social activism, also had a life as an academic. He gave poetry workshops at the Naropa Institute and was a professor at Brooklyn College. This collection of recordings includes a 1980 class on Basic Poetics, a two-part 1977 class Jack Kerouac, a 1976 class on William Carlos Williams, a 1981 class on 19th century poetry and a 1987 workshop on American Value.