How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1

  • Published on Nov 15, 2012
  • In which John Green kicks off the Crash Course Literature mini series with a reasonable set of questions. Why do we read? What's the point of reading critically. John will argue that reading is about effectively communicating with other people. Unlike a direct communication though, the writer has to communicate with a stranger, through time and space, with only "dry dead words on a page." So how's that going to work? Find out with Crash Course Literature! Also, readers are empowered during the open letter, so that's pretty cool.
    The Reading List!
    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare:
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
    Catcher in the Rye:
    Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson:
    Some of these are available from as free ebooks. You should check that out.
    Follow us!
    Support CrashCourse on Patreon:

Comments • 6 711

  • Jicky likes Carrot
    Jicky likes Carrot 5 days ago

    Cant believe some so many people watched a video about reading.

  • Joseph Babu
    Joseph Babu 13 days ago

    did he just transition from an open letter to authorial intent to an open letter to the reader?

  • ella n
    ella n 19 days ago

    It would be great if the CrashCourse team would make a course about art.

  • Mr Temporal
    Mr Temporal 19 days ago

    Here's another reason to read:
    You (can) have fun doing it

  • Dark Phoenix
    Dark Phoenix 21 day ago

    This is amazing! Would you considering doing some episodes on the Graphic Novel as literature? And perhaps do some critiques on a few like Watchmen, Sandman, Dark Knight Returns, Saga, Lazarus. These books are full of depth and commentary on the human condition and drama and is definitely literature. Literature and film all wrapped into one :-)

  • Laila Alkassabi
    Laila Alkassabi 23 days ago

    Hello 😍😍 I lovvvve crash course I even wish that it’s a Netflix series that I can binge watch ahaha ,,, I can’t seem to access the books ? Is the website still valid and working ? Thanks for your help

  • Rob Wisdom
    Rob Wisdom 23 days ago

    So, now they finally have a back catalogs about their show.. Is it worth watching?

  • FriendsoftheGerund
    FriendsoftheGerund Month ago

    Are you kin to Giuseppi Verdi?

  • Geffen Tzaban
    Geffen Tzaban Month ago

    Nerdwriter reference?

  • Michael Cole
    Michael Cole Month ago

    Please do Oliver twist!!!

  • crystal mccullum
    crystal mccullum Month ago +1

    How would you cite this video correctly, MLA style?

  • Françis Lee
    Françis Lee Month ago

    OMG how could he speak so fast

  • Home School24
    Home School24 Month ago


  • Keenyn Moly
    Keenyn Moly Month ago

    Thank you for these hilarious and informative videos! This series helped me so much with passing the American Literature CLEP test! :)

  • S B
    S B Month ago

    Crash course is not designed for students with learning challenges who have difficulty understanding information due to the speed it's presented in. This man needs to slow down! Hard to learn when info is being presented that quickly. Not a good learning tool for so many students that need to learn this info.

  • Tori Angelilli
    Tori Angelilli 2 months ago

    I read Fault in our Stars and found out the author is on this channel

  • Tae the Bae
    Tae the Bae 2 months ago

    Does anybody know what that Gallifreyan says?

  • Matt Dubow
    Matt Dubow 2 months ago

    First open letter against authorial intent? I'm so down

  • Sukanya Dev
    Sukanya Dev 2 months ago

    I love the way how John Green is dissing his ex-girlfriend through this video.

  • Lucas Hayton
    Lucas Hayton 2 months ago +1

    don'y really like this one

  • A.R Meyer
    A.R Meyer 2 months ago

    My literature teacher told us to come here. I now understand why and that literature goes beyond being entertained by a book or for the sake of pleasure. I now see reading is a 'tool' that will help us in our lives, experiences, feelings (good or bad ones but still feelings) and so much more but it would be a very long list. Greetings from Argentina.

  • A.R Meyer
    A.R Meyer 2 months ago

    Amazing what you do John; make us reflect on why we need to read. It's just great what you offer us :)

  • Rachel Norton
    Rachel Norton 2 months ago

    The fangirl inside of me was screeching the whole time because of the circular gallifreyan

  • Lalitha Naraparaju
    Lalitha Naraparaju 2 months ago

    I wanna translate what you wrote in Gallifreyan on your chalkboard.

  • Alimo Eskimo
    Alimo Eskimo 2 months ago


    NATSU DRAGNEEL 2 months ago

    this is like trying to read and understand the worlds most complex poetry in a diffrent language that you dont know
    did not dislike though

  • Bryan McCormick
    Bryan McCormick 2 months ago

    i still believe in treasure hunting though

  • Gadisa Mohammed
    Gadisa Mohammed 2 months ago

    2018 ??

  • Robert Simon
    Robert Simon 2 months ago

    I once heard some one explain reading as a way that humans download software

  • Miner Mario
    Miner Mario 3 months ago

    "THE AUTHOR DOES NOT MATTER. all that matters is that the book is there!" yu sure john the author is extremely important for the book (MAYBE) might not have existed WITHOUT them, take this as an example: JK Rowling could not have made that book(harry potter) if not for her creative personality same goes for Rick Riordan. (Every mythical book that he made)
    Take Homer the mysterious author that nobody knows for sure who he really is. Well he was SUPER CREATIVE, more creative than rick and jk combined. these types of writers 3 examples of really amazing creative ONE OF A KIND work especially homer, who made everyones mind BLOW who read the the Odyssey because not many people an make poetry and a story SO WELL to homers level. you must have been Einstein genius levels to make this story. im no Albert Einstein but still, this is what i think. cya.

  • David Howell
    David Howell 3 months ago

    What the Shakespeare!

  • alacarteno
    alacarteno 3 months ago

    love love love

  • nonnanevrotica
    nonnanevrotica 3 months ago

    Dear John, please do something on Faulkner.. I'm a Lit major and I don't get him at all.

  • mason wong
    mason wong 3 months ago

    You are the best john green

  • mason wong
    mason wong 3 months ago

    This is the best serives ever

  • Izzy Sumardi
    Izzy Sumardi 3 months ago

    When John doesn't call the video description section the doobly
    Doo😵 but seriously love this video

  • Arti Roy
    Arti Roy 3 months ago


  • Phuong Tran
    Phuong Tran 3 months ago

    Please start a discussion on Gone with the wind John???? 😁😁😁

  • thinking mike thinking mike

    Don't forget to be awesome 😀

  • Yvonne
    Yvonne 3 months ago

    God, how much I hate the word 'problematic'.

  • Александра Никифорова

    Hi, want to see the entire movie for this video clip. Well then search in Google as: "CineHub4U" to discover the whole film.

  • Naima Batool
    Naima Batool 3 months ago

    Keep it up, john green☺

  • Heey Mia
    Heey Mia 3 months ago

    John Green is the only person who could survive easily the Weeping Angels

  • Alexander Teigøyen
    Alexander Teigøyen 4 months ago

    Nice Gallifrian

  • Parker Nuttall
    Parker Nuttall 4 months ago

    Can you guys please tackle War and Peace?

  • Rushda Rubaia
    Rushda Rubaia 4 months ago

    I am an ESL Teacher and I can't love you more!

  • Alice Holden
    Alice Holden 4 months ago

    can you please do the house of mirth

  • Ultra Violet
    Ultra Violet 4 months ago

    I'm watching this and there's only 6 words constantly flying around my head. Make John Green find the thing.

  • Alice Reaper
    Alice Reaper 4 months ago

    It would be amazing for me if you could do a video or two on, King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table.

  • rin indibox
    rin indibox 4 months ago

    bad vampire fiction? twilight?

    MAKENNAH ENGLE 4 months ago

    Am I the only teen here purely for enjoyment?

  • Zoeyread318
    Zoeyread318 4 months ago

    please do a video on crime & punishment

  • Libby Palmer
    Libby Palmer 4 months ago

    Romeo and Juliet derivative of west side story. LOL

  • Claire Martinez
    Claire Martinez 5 months ago


  • Matej Kratky
    Matej Kratky 5 months ago

    Finally, I can see the point of all this. Thank you very much.

  • Max #
    Max # 5 months ago

    I think the links are broken in the description. It directs me to some social media boosting site. Is it only me?

  • Alice Holden
    Alice Holden 5 months ago

    Please do the House of Mirth

  • Warren Roth
    Warren Roth 5 months ago

    Using you to teach you and your content, which also helps me teach our content - to my 8th graders. Brilliant and appreciated.

  • henrygreenhg
    henrygreenhg 5 months ago

    whhaaaatttttt? I need a summary...

  • Saba Asad
    Saba Asad 5 months ago

    I want you to share some of your thoughts and your analysis on Robinson Crusoe. plz :)

  • James
    James 5 months ago

    Green is "white" enough without the polo t

  • Nivedita Sawane
    Nivedita Sawane 5 months ago

    Bad Vampire fiction.....?😂😂😂😂😂😂👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  • Erick Silva
    Erick Silva 5 months ago

    this is even more interesting when you are native to another language

  • Ruoxi Pan
    Ruoxi Pan 5 months ago

    Hope there will be one on Inferno.

  • gothmedli
    gothmedli 5 months ago

    why the hell do you not blink?!

  • Andreea Ilicea
    Andreea Ilicea 5 months ago

    @CrashCourse I've just started watching this playlist and I'm confused. Why are the videos numbered like this: #1, #2, ..., 304,....401, although there are only 36 videos in the playlist??
    Are there any CrashCourse-Literature videos that have not been added to the playlist, although they have been posted on TVclip? I'd love to watch everything you have on Literature, so please let me know whether these 36 videos are all that I can watch or there are more. Thanks

  • Maximum effort
    Maximum effort 5 months ago

    Cyka blyat

  • Steven Bolde
    Steven Bolde 6 months ago

    Best video on TVclip.

  • lescactus
    lescactus 6 months ago

    dude, you're so weird

  • Justin More
    Justin More 6 months ago

    booo raul

  • Connor Schroeder!
    Connor Schroeder! 6 months ago


  • Brian The Fanboy
    Brian The Fanboy 6 months ago

    Unless you of are wait for it. The Monguls.

  • Danielle Smith
    Danielle Smith 6 months ago

    Cool! My teacher is making us watch this! I love CrashCourse!

  • Tatrin Lu
    Tatrin Lu 6 months ago

    Imagine having our teachers bring this intense and passionate, we'd be on the edge of our seats

  • Eldrian Tho Jiat Yang
    Eldrian Tho Jiat Yang 6 months ago

    CC, COuld u do a MACBETH VIDEO?

  • Otávio de Toledo
    Otávio de Toledo 6 months ago

    I don't care for literature at all
    Only came here for John
    And I really miss the History series

  • D.Meyod
    D.Meyod 6 months ago

    How to read?> With an open mind and often
    Why?> Intelligence. History. KNOWLEDGE. Passion. Curiosity. Also, Odyssey is a story, actually was a verbal oration…. not a “book”
    3. I like your books, I have one on my shelf, still I do not care for your videos. They are like watching a hyperactive child on a manic trip which was pretty much my childhood. Not to mention way over generalized “lessons” here for what has many obviously highschool viewers cramming at the last minute. This could’ve easily just been a 30 second PSA for Reading.

  • Hoang Nguyen
    Hoang Nguyen 6 months ago

    Does it count as a book if i write a book that says WTF for 2 billion pages?

  • Emiley 531
    Emiley 531 7 months ago

    They should go over The Awakening by Kate Chopin. It’s a really good book that has a bunch of figurative language that could be analyzed.

  • ohshestudies
    ohshestudies 7 months ago

    And also he should have told about his book too.

  • Brionna Martinez
    Brionna Martinez 7 months ago

    did anyone else see gallifrain written on the chalkboard next thing you know is that the doctor will show up lol

  • Isabella Cravero
    Isabella Cravero 7 months ago

    Would you please do The Scarlet Letter?

  • Matheus Bueno
    Matheus Bueno 7 months ago

    Fascists were dead decades Lol

  • Aldric Williams
    Aldric Williams 7 months ago

    5 years have passed since this video was posted. In some way...that's pretty cool.

  • Misty Heartt
    Misty Heartt 7 months ago

    By The Way... love it Green

  • 7913AJunior
    7913AJunior 7 months ago

    The general sound/video quality of this compared to episodes from 2017 is CRAZY.

  • Ted Sava
    Ted Sava 7 months ago

    "bad vampire fiction"

  • ohshestudies
    ohshestudies 7 months ago

    The fact that he wrote TFIOS still doesn't let me focus.

  • soundravally rajendiran

    "Bad vampire fiction?" XD

  • Yan Viver
    Yan Viver 7 months ago

    My teachers are exactly torturing me with grammars. but seems everyone else in the class kinda enjoy it. WTH, I am the only werido?

  • Kukua A. Paintsil
    Kukua A. Paintsil 7 months ago

    Do Anne Of Green Gables

  • Miscelânea do Pepa
    Miscelânea do Pepa 7 months ago

    John, please do a video on "In search of lost time" by Proust, pleeeeease

  • Alice Pope-Terry
    Alice Pope-Terry 8 months ago

    This is what the gallifrayan says btw: rjmej quth bulith
    It's a sting of nonsense.

  • sore chont
    sore chont 8 months ago


  • TheMrjello100
    TheMrjello100 8 months ago

    Ha! Romeo and Juliet!

  • Craig Craigson
    Craig Craigson 8 months ago

    Please do crash course series on grammar.

  • nishitd
    nishitd 8 months ago +1 links don't work any more. Can you update the links?

  • Leonard Winkel
    Leonard Winkel 8 months ago

    Can we do a Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep episode?

  • catzrule001
    catzrule001 8 months ago

    can you do last of the mohicans