T C 603B • Composition and Reading in World Literature
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
In this course, subtitled The Heart of Literature, we will examine literary works in various genres from ancient to recent times that move us as readers. How and why do certain books manage to speak so eloquently to our hearts as well as to our minds? What is it that stirs our emotional unconscious as we follow the relationship between a troubled soul and his mentor in Dante's Inferno? Or as we listen to the voice of a house narrating family history in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse? Or as we experience the epic sweep of civilizations emerging and disappearing in Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities? Or as we assess the humanity of a creature and his creator in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? While these and other literary texts will be the primary focus of our investigation, we will also consider how selected cinematic works succeed (or dont succeed) in raising important issuesaesthetic ones, but historical and ethical ones as wellthrough their appeal to our emotional selves.
About the Professor Guy Raffa's main areas of teaching and research are Dante studies, modern Italian fiction, interrelations of literature and science, and European studies. He is the recipient of a President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award (2002) and an Innovative Instructional Technology Award (2003) for his work on a multimedia Dante web site (Danteworlds). His recent publications include a book on Dante and essays on Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco.
Four formal essays, 800-1000 words each (one of which you will rewrite at the end of the semester and submit as a fifth paper) will account for 50% of the final grade. The remaining 50% will be evenly divided between informed class participation and a weekly journal containing responses to study questions and your reflections based on the readings and viewings. There will be no final examination.
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake Nikolai Gogol, "The Overcoat" Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse Michael Cunningham, The Hours Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Tom Stoppard, Arcadia Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Films: Beautiful People, We All Loved Each Other So Much