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

Spring 2005

E 314J • Literature and Religious Studies

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31350 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Course Description


“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 within the Christian tradition 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?” What changes about literature when God exits (or is pulled off by shepherd’s crook) “stage left”?

Grading Policy

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


(subject to revision)
MacDonald, Phantastes: A Faerie Romance
O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Maugham, The Razor’s Edge
Percy, The Moviegoer

UT Library Electronic Reserves, including: Poems by Southwell, Marvell, Herrick, et al.
Various essays and articles

There will be a course website.


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