Werner Herzog Tells a Book Club Why The Peregrine Is One of His Favorite Books, a 20th-Century Masterpiece

In the past, we’ve told you about Wern­er Her­zog’s Rogue Film School, which offers an uncon­ven­tion­al crash-course in auteur­ship, teach­ing stu­dents every­thing from “the art of lock-pick­ing,” to “the cre­ation of one’s own shoot­ing per­mits,” to the “ath­let­ic side of film­mak­ing.” As with any good cur­ricu­lum, Her­zog pro­vides a required read­ing list, which asks stu­dents to pore over some unex­pect­ed books. When was the list time a film pro­fes­sor asked stu­dents to read Virgil’s Geor­gics, Hemingway’s “The Short Hap­py Life of Fran­cis Macomber,” or J.A. Baker’s The Pere­grine?

If you haven’t heard of it, Her­zog con­sid­ers The Pere­grine one of the great mas­ter­pieces of the 20th cen­tu­ry. First pub­lished in 1967, this clas­sic of British nature writ­ing has “an inten­si­ty and beau­ty of prose that is unprece­dent­ed, it is one of the finest pieces of prose you can ever see any­where,” says Her­zog. Ear­li­er this year, the film­mak­er paid a vis­it to Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty and had a wide-rang­ing con­ver­sa­tion with Prof. Robert Har­ri­son (host of the pod­cast Enti­tled Opin­ions) about what makes The Pere­grine such a won­drous work. The event was host­ed by Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies and “Anoth­er Look Book Club,” which intro­duces you to the best books you’ve nev­er read.

The con­ver­sa­tion with Her­zog offi­cial­ly begins at the 3:00 minute mark.

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Relat­ed Con­tent

Wern­er Her­zog Cre­ates Required Read­ing & Movie View­ing Lists for Enrolling in His Film School

Wern­er Her­zog Will Teach His First Online Course on Film­mak­ing

Enti­tled Opin­ions, the “Life and Lit­er­a­ture” Pod­cast That Refus­es to Dumb Things Down

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.