100 Free Lectures That Will Make You a Better Writer

This article, from Caitlin Smith, originally appeared on the Online Universities Blog on March 9, 2009.

Being a writer means you constantly evolve and grow in your writing knowledge. One way to aid in this evolution to becoming a better writer is by learning from what others have to offer. The following lectures cover a wide range of fields including literature, speeches from current writers, lectures from Nobel Laureates in literature, lectures about fiction, non-fiction, poetry, journalism, and even entire classes on writing.

Learn from Great Literature

These lectures focus on specific writers and their works, frequently with an emphasis and analysis on the writing.

  1. Richard Wright, Black Boy. Professor Amy Hungerford takes a look at this American novel and also explores the writer’s determination to maintain the integrity of his novel in the face of a Book of the Month Club president.
  2. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood. The first part of this two-part lecture series discusses faith and interpretation while the second part examines the novel in several different contexts.
  3. Milton. Professor John Rogers teaches this class from Yale with lectures on a variety of Milton’s works, especially Paradise Lost.
  4. Modern Poetry. From Robert Frost to T.S. Eliot to Elizabeth Bishop, learn from modern poets in these lectures given by Professor Langdon Hammer at Yale.
  5. J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey. Learn to use evidence from the text to make a sound argument with this novel as an example.
  6. Guest Lecture by Andrew Goldstone. This lecture focuses on Vladimir Nabokov’s writing style in relation to other modern writers.
  7. John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse. Watch this lecture to find out about Barth’s commitment to language expressed in the risks he takes as a writer and how it accentuates the relationship of language and love.
  8. Thomas Pynchon, The Crying Lot of 49. Amy Hungerford looks at Pynchon’s work as "a sincere call for connection, and a lament for loss, as much as it is an ironic, playful puzzle."
  9. Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye. Examine the role that language as violence plays in Morrison’s work.
  10. English 205: Lectures. Read the lectures from this class at Los Angeles Harbor College that covers English literature up to 1800.

Read the rest of the article, which includes links to lectures #11 – 100, under the headings Learn From Current Writers, Learn From Nobel Winners, Fiction Writing, Nonfiction Writing, Poetry, Miscellaneous Classes, University Classes Teaching Writing, and Journalism, on the Online Universities Blog.