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 • 6 741

    CEG GHD Day ago

    Is this the same person that did philosophy course ?

  • RaritySpiritAnimal
    RaritySpiritAnimal 2 days ago

    What the Fitzgerald did you just say to me you little piece of Shakespeare???? You little Dickens?????????

  • Sarwat Sharif
    Sarwat Sharif 11 days ago

    Can you please develop a crash course on great expectations by Charles Dickens? It will help understand the plot better

    • Brian Hutzell
      Brian Hutzell 10 days ago

      A whole series on Dickens would be awesome!

  • cosimocub
    cosimocub 17 days ago

    what an annoying yank. i mean come on

  • Inspirations
    Inspirations 18 days ago

    wow...great teaching and inspiring talk!!

  • Spectrr
    Spectrr 19 days ago

    I hate reading

  • Nataleigha Huggett-DeVeny


  • Tones
    Tones 24 days ago

    Dislike because John green, and the fact that he doesn’t blink.

  • ApexCactus
    ApexCactus 26 days ago

    Hey! Shakespeare is the main course meal, and bad Vampire fiction is dessert, there's no shame in that xD

  • Thomas Burnett
    Thomas Burnett Month ago

    J’aime parler français aussi et I-ay ike-lay o-tay eak-spay ig-pay atin-lay wrong in order

  • spideken
    spideken Month ago

    my niece cry watching your videos..

  • spideken
    spideken Month ago +1

    your funny but your scary too.. now, I'm afraid if I read books I end up like you.. so therefore I stop reading :D ..

  • Puppy Pu
    Puppy Pu Month ago

    Would you do Wide Sargasso Sea please???

  • Mikhail Braude
    Mikhail Braude Month ago

    Reading List links got hijacked!

    • Marija Matic
      Marija Matic Month ago

      Have you found a solution? I can not open them.

  • Paul Andre Uy
    Paul Andre Uy Month ago

    “It's just that I learned a while ago that the best way to get people to like you is not to like them too much.”
    ― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

  • Anselma Reich
    Anselma Reich Month ago

    Bad vampire fiction ... I see what you did there.

  • Danielle Detera
    Danielle Detera Month ago

    In a reading slump before. No longer after this video.

  • alyssa dela cruz
    alyssa dela cruz Month ago

    John Green is the adult version of Jimmy Neutron

  • Ned O'Brien
    Ned O'Brien Month ago

    what did the gallifrain say?

  • Kinyanjui Wangonya
    Kinyanjui Wangonya Month ago

    Who else pauses the roll-in just to read what's written on the banners? 😅

  • MJ Stitsey
    MJ Stitsey Month ago

    When he said and vampire fiction I immediately thought of Twilight

  • Aditya Kumar
    Aditya Kumar Month ago

    Could you please give a detailed explanation of the process of critical reading?
    What questions do I pose to the prose to get a deeper understanding of it ?
    I often find me disappointed with myself if I could not find the symbols that the people discuss and most of the time my interpretations are never popoularly accepted . How do I read in the right way ?😅

  • Ronja
    Ronja Month ago

    bad vampire fiction 😂😂

  • Laiba Khan
    Laiba Khan 2 months ago

    Though I'm no longer in highschool learning about English Literature nor I'm studying it in college. I would love to learn more about literature. The thing is my grammar is appalling for a 17 year old like me.

  • Maureen Seel
    Maureen Seel 2 months ago

    Hahaha! Gallifreyan in the background. That's great.

  • Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc
    Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc 2 months ago +1

    guys, i have something i don't in the video. What does John mean when he said: 'get these book to roll in'? What's a roll in? Thanks a lot

    • Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc
      Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc 26 days ago

      know i'm a little bit too late but thank you

    • Tati P
      Tati P Month ago

      Thao Tran Nguyen Ngoc in other crash course videos, the stuff surrounding John's desk appears by rolling in at the beginning of the video. Similar to how John himself rolls in sitting on his chair.

  • Alexandra Gomez
    Alexandra Gomez 2 months ago

    Make a video about poems and how to understand them, please?

  • Jicky likes Carrot
    Jicky likes Carrot 2 months ago

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

  • Joseph Babu
    Joseph Babu 2 months ago

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

  • ella n
    ella n 2 months ago

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

  • Mr Temporal
    Mr Temporal 2 months ago

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

  • Phoenix Olivia
    Phoenix Olivia 2 months 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 2 months ago +1

    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 2 months ago

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

  • FriendsoftheGerund
    FriendsoftheGerund 3 months ago

    Are you kin to Giuseppi Verdi?

  • Geffen Tzaban
    Geffen Tzaban 3 months ago

    Nerdwriter reference?

  • Michael Cole
    Michael Cole 3 months ago

    Please do Oliver twist!!!

  • crystal mccullum
    crystal mccullum 3 months ago +1

    How would you cite this video correctly, MLA style?

  • Françis Lee
    Françis Lee 3 months ago

    OMG how could he speak so fast

  • Home School24
    Home School24 3 months ago


  • Keenyn Moly
    Keenyn Moly 3 months 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 4 months 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 4 months ago

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

  • Tae the Bae
    Tae the Bae 4 months ago

    Does anybody know what that Gallifreyan says?

  • Matt Dubow
    Matt Dubow 4 months ago

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

  • Sukanya Dev
    Sukanya Dev 4 months ago

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

  • Lucas Hayton
    Lucas Hayton 4 months ago +1

    don'y really like this one

  • A.R Meyer
    A.R Meyer 4 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 4 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 4 months ago

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

  • Lalitha Naraparaju
    Lalitha Naraparaju 4 months ago

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

  • Alimo Eskimo
    Alimo Eskimo 4 months ago


    NATSU DRAGNEEL 4 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 4 months ago

    i still believe in treasure hunting though

  • Gadisa Mohammed
    Gadisa Mohammed 5 months ago

    2018 ??

  • Robert Simon
    Robert Simon 5 months ago

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

  • Miner Mario
    Miner Mario 5 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 5 months ago

    What the Shakespeare!

  • alacarteno
    alacarteno 5 months ago

    love love love

  • nonnanevrotica
    nonnanevrotica 5 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 5 months ago

    You are the best john green

  • mason wong
    mason wong 5 months ago

    This is the best serives ever

  • Izzy Sumardi
    Izzy Sumardi 5 months ago

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

  • Arti Roy
    Arti Roy 5 months ago


  • Phuong Tran
    Phuong Tran 5 months ago

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

  • thinking mike thinking mike

    Don't forget to be awesome 😀

  • Yvonne
    Yvonne 5 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 6 months ago

    Keep it up, john green☺

  • Heey Mia
    Heey Mia 6 months ago

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

  • Alexander Teigøyen
    Alexander Teigøyen 6 months ago

    Nice Gallifrian

  • Parker Nuttall
    Parker Nuttall 6 months ago

    Can you guys please tackle War and Peace?

  • Rushda Rubaia
    Rushda Rubaia 6 months ago

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

  • Alice Holden
    Alice Holden 6 months ago

    can you please do the house of mirth

  • Ultra Violet
    Ultra Violet 6 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 6 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 6 months ago

    bad vampire fiction? twilight?

    MAKENNAH ENGLE 6 months ago

    Am I the only teen here purely for enjoyment?

  • Zoeyread318
    Zoeyread318 6 months ago

    please do a video on crime & punishment

  • Libby Palmer
    Libby Palmer 7 months ago

    Romeo and Juliet derivative of west side story. LOL

  • Claire Martinez
    Claire Martinez 7 months ago


  • Max #
    Max # 7 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 7 months ago

    Please do the House of Mirth

  • Warren Roth
    Warren Roth 7 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 7 months ago

    whhaaaatttttt? I need a summary...

  • Saba Asad
    Saba Asad 7 months ago

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

  • James
    James 7 months ago

    Green is "white" enough without the polo t

  • Nivedita Sawane
    Nivedita Sawane 7 months ago

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

  • Erick Silva
    Erick Silva 7 months ago

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

  • Ruoxi Pan
    Ruoxi Pan 7 months ago

    Hope there will be one on Inferno.

  • gothmedli
    gothmedli 7 months ago

    why the hell do you not blink?!

  • Andreea Ilicea
    Andreea Ilicea 7 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 8 months ago

    Cyka blyat

  • Steven Bolde
    Steven Bolde 8 months ago

    Best video on TVclip.

  • lescactus
    lescactus 8 months ago

    dude, you're so weird

  • Justin More
    Justin More 8 months ago

    booo raul

  • Connor Schroeder!
    Connor Schroeder! 8 months ago


  • Brian The Fanboy
    Brian The Fanboy 8 months ago

    Unless you of are wait for it. The Monguls.

  • Danielle Smith
    Danielle Smith 8 months ago

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