Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 42: Literature and Revolution: Great Books in Moments of Cultural Transformation

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2012

What is the function of literary texts in moments, from Plato to the Russian Revolution, that promise total, enlightened societal transformation? Each week, this course will focus on two texts related to selected "revolutionary" moments, one philosophical and one literary. Literary texts do not participate easily in the revolutionary order. They resist the textual simplicities of philosophy. Which do we trust: philosophy or literature? Texts include many found in traditional "Great Books" courses: Plato, Virgil, Augustine, Dante, Luther, Milton, Swift, Rousseau, Twain, Kant, Marx, and Chekov, among others.
Note: Students who have taken Culture and Belief 18 may not take this course for credit. This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for either Culture and Belief or Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding, but not both. This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engages substantially with Study of the Past. This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Core area requirement for Literature and Arts C.