Denby, a noted movie critic, goes back to his alma mater, Columbia University, to retake the LitHum and contemporary civilization courses he took in the early 1960s to determine whether the politically correct crowd is right about the great books being intellectually bankrupt. He decides the PCs are mostly all wet. "These books...speak most powerfully of what a human being can be. They dramatize the utmost any of us is capable of in love, suffering, and knowledge. They offer the most direct representation of the possibilities of civil existence and the disaster of its dissolution." For a scholar's viewpoint on great books, see Harold Bloom's The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (LJ 9/1/94). (LJ 8/96). Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.