The Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning work of William Faulkner is considered to be some of the most beautifully-crafted prose in the English language. In this course, we will read two of his most celebrated novels, As I Lay Dying (1930) and Absalom! Absalom!
While American literary history didn't begin in the 1850s in Concord, Massachusetts, it certainly blossomed there. This small town an hour west of Boston was home to a band of writers whose works still resonate with modern readers.
Given that he wrote in an era of entrenched patriarchy, do Shakespeare’s plays reveal any pro-feminist sentiments? If so, did his representations of strong female characters change as his writing matured? And is there a relationship between Shakespeare’s choice of genre and the ways he gives power to his women?
Sophocles, one of the greatest of the Greek tragedians, gives us three plays popular in ancient Athens and still relevant today. Join us for a close reading and discussion of Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Oedipus at Colonus. Major themes to be examined are the desire for truth at any cost, civil disobedience and a search for identity.
Telling stories has been an integral part of Jewish life, from the tales that make up the Hebrew Bible to those about contemporary Jewish experiences. Jews have long used the short story to organize and understand the world and their place within it. In this short seminar, we’ll focus on stories written by Jewish-American authors since 1945.
What does the Cold War spy novel become in the hands of American writers? Do they raise the stakes and the body count? Are their spies more along the lines of the classic hero, with less cynicism and more faith in action and absolutes? Can we find in these stories what we would call a true American sensibility?
The future for American women imagined in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments is very different from the future for American women imagined in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Why is that?
Walls’ biography of Thoreau explores the wide range of talents and accomplishments of this significant 19th century intellectual, philosopher, social reformer, businessman and, naturalist, who helped shape our national identity. Thoreau’s range of interests and accomplishments extends beyond his legendary tenure at Walden Pond.
There have always been myths about “The Wild Man,” that figure who exists outside of society, as a kind of living rebuttal to the values of the “civilized” world. These stories are rich social documents that illuminate how a culture defines itself in relation to those that it excludes or fears.
In this course, we will read the best stories of major Anglo/American modernist writers, including Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and others. Modernist storytellers were preoccupied with an emphasis on form, self-exile, the meaning of time, and nostalgia for a lost plentitude.
In this course, we will read and discuss five plays by Aristophanes, the earliest comic playwright whose works survive in European literature. Aristophanes was a native Athenian who wrote and staged his plays during the time usually seen as the Golden Age of Greek civilization. Yet, in this period the fortunes of Athens changed dramatically.
In Howard’s End, E.M. Forster famously wrote, “Only Connect!” In this course, we’ll explore ways to write about one of our favorite connectors: Love.
In this course, we will read and discuss the range of Welty’s fiction, from her modernist family romances to her myth- infused photorealism. Readings of her short fiction will be supplemented by Welty’s own photographs and her commentary on the craft of writing.