E 314J • Literature and Religious Studies
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Course is computer-assisted.
God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. So claimed Voltairejust 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 Blakes choice of subject matter, Wildes conception of the purpose of art, and competing understandings of the poets 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?
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)
Zola, LAssomoir (Penguin Classics)
Maugham, The Razors Edge
Anne Frank, Diary
Percy, The Moviegoer
Vlastos, Platos Universe (Introduction)
Khayyam, Rubaiyat (Fitzgerald trans.)
Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert: selected poems
Blake, Hopkins, Yeats, Eliot: selected poems