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Literature II - Late Renaissance through the 20th Century:



Greek Culture in the Ancient World, Ancient Philosophy, Old Testament.



This course is paired with New Testament and Patristics, whose religious culture is the fountainhead for most of its readings. It is also related to the Human Person: the philosophical examination of the nature and destiny of man is paired with the image of man as pilgrim.


The seminar, which covers the period from the beginning of the Christian era to the beginning of the 16th century, studies as many great texts as possible from this period. Aesthetic excellence, socio-historical significance, and variety of genre are the criteria for selecting the texts. The theme of the "journey" can aid in a loose way to provide continuity. Although the chief emphasis of the course is aesthetic--the appreciation of the works as creations of poetic art--the selection also serves to follow the development of Western culture within the three great epochs indicated. The permanence of the classical achievement of Greece and Rome (and particularly the "myth" of Rome itself as supreme cultural nexus) is explored in its many permutations.


Possible sequence of topics:

  • The Renaissance
  • French Classicism
  • The Enlightenment
  • Romanticism and late 19th-century movements
  • Existentialism
  • Modernism
Literature in its Historical Setting- Renaissance to the Present:    
Swift Gulliver's Travels
Fielding Tom Jones
Gibbon Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Voltaire Candide
Diderot D'Alembert's Dream
Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling, Philosophical Fragments
Tolstoy War and Peace
Dostoevski Brothers Karamazov
Austen Emma
Flaubert Madame Bovary
Melville Moby Dick