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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2004

E 314J • Literature and Religious Studies

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31970 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Course Description

Course is computer-assisted.

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” So claimed Voltaire—just one of innumerable authors to treat the concept of the Divine in their works. This class will examine various texts with the purpose of charting the shifting relationship between authors and God over time and across cultures. How do historical, cultural, and political contexts contribute to differences in religious outlook between Shakespeare and Shelley? How do reflections on the Supreme Being influence Blake’s choice of subject matter, Wilde’s conception of the purpose of art, and competing understandings of the poet’s role in society? And as Irv Kupcinet once asked, “What can you say about a society that says that God is dead and Elvis is alive?”

Grading Policy

Three essays, one of which may be a web project, 20% each: 60%
Written responses to assigned readings 30%
Attendance and participation 10%


(subject to change)

Shelley, Frankenstein
Zola, L’Assomoir (Penguin Classics)
Maugham, The Razor’s Edge
Anne Frank, Diary
Percy, The Moviegoer
Vlastos, Plato’s Universe (Introduction)
Khayyam, Rubaiyat (Fitzgerald trans.)
Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert: selected poems
Blake, Hopkins, Yeats, Eliot: selected poems
Course packet


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