16th and 17th century British literature; Religion and Literature; Poetry and Poetics; Early Modern Letters and Letter-Writing
ENGL 20182/40182 Early Modern Loss and Longing
GNSE 22182, GNSE 42182, MAPH 40182
This course examines depictions of early modern desire and loss in genres including the essay, lyric, drama and fiction. The class will also have substantial engagement with affect theory as well as period theorizations (Neoplatonic accounts of desire, humoral accounts of melancholy, etc.)
ENGL 27711/47711 What is Literature For?: Theories of Literary Value
This class will examine different theories about the meaning and social role of literature over a historical long durée. Why do we find literature valuable? What do we ask from it, and what is it able to provide? Is art's very uselessness the key to its role in the lives of readers? Or can we expect literature to effect changes in the world we live in? Does literature serve a therapeutic function? An expressive one? To what or whom is a writer responsible? Students will develop their own answers to these questions, and also examine how attitudes about the function of literary text have changed over the last few centuries— centuries that have seen a staggering transformation in the growth of literacy and the volume of print and digital culture. Readings will range from the Renaissance to the 21st century, and may include texts by Philip Sidney, Oscar Wilde, William Faulkner, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Jaques Ranciere, and Gayatri Spivak.