At Gregory the Great Academy, we stress reading good books that will delight the soul and provide food for the imagination. Literature offers an indirect experience of the ways of the world and the effects of moral virtue and vice through imaginative representations of life and experience. It also serves to stimulate the initial reflections of a young mind on questions central to the human condition and human nature which is the basis of its role as an educator. Literature seeks truth by means of fiction. It carries with it principles, ideals, and lessons which are timeless and universal. In imitating human action, it is able to express ideas of universal and permanent interest to humanity by means of particular affective, moral, and spiritual struggles and events.
The Freshman Literature program concentrates on the Romantic mode of the story. The Romantic mode involves stories of adventure, mystery, stock characters, impossible quests, and the inherent wonder of the common and uncommon.
The Sophomore Literature course is a study of the myth and various mythologies of the world. Arising out of man’s desire to provide significance to the mysteries of his world, a myth is a purely fictitious narrative usually involving legendary, historical, and spiritual persons, actions, or events, and often embodying some popular conception of natural and supernatural phenomena. In order to provide a context whereby he might judge things beyond his ken, man wove tales that introduced questions and ideas of a cosmic scope, springing from the mystical sensitivity of the human spirit.
Upper Form Literature Program
As the students refine their ability to read with attention, reflection, and confidence, the study of the good books gives way to some of the great, classical works of Western civilization. The Humanities classes, a series of courses for the Junior and Senior students, emphasize classical authors and the study of the three major humanistic disciplines of literature, history, and philosophy. The Junior year is devoted to reading works by ancient Greek and Roman authors; the Senior year turns to a study of the works from the Medieval and Modern periods of the Western literary tradition. Some of the books read over this two-year period of time are Homer’s Odyssey, the Oresteia by Aeschylus, Plato’s Apology, Virgil’s Aeneid, the Inferno by Dante, selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, several plays by Shakespeare, plus short stories and novels by British and American modern authors.