HONORS 135 - Ideas in Honors
Section: 004 Cormac McCarthy: Of Cowboys and Nothingness
Term: FA 2009
Subject: Honors Program (HONORS)
Department: LSA Honors
Credits:
1
Other:
Honors, Minicourse
Class Misc Info:
Meets 9/17/2009-11/12/2009. (Drop/Add deadline=09/30/09.).
Advisory Prerequisites:
First-year standing in the Honors Program.
Grading:
Mandatory credit/no credit.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Cormac McCarthy has a reputation for writing bleak, graphic, strangely poetic meditations on death and the myth of the American West. Beyond that, his eclectic content and his reluctance to speak publicly about his work have left his novels open for many different interpretations, each with its own advocates in the world of literary criticism. To get involved in a discussion of McCarthy is to enter into a sprawling, active debate on philosophy and American history and culture. What does McCarthy have to say about the past, present, and future of America? Is there a coherent system of beliefs to be uncovered in his body of work, or are futility and violence the only constants?

This course will discuss passages from two of his most prominent novels (Blood Meridian, The Road) and one of his plays in its entirety (The Sunset Limited). We’ll pay particular attention to issues that concern his frequently biblical language and his complex treatment of religion and philosophy. Who, if anyone, are the heroes, gods, and martyrs of his novels? How does McCarthy construct his unusual protagonists and antagonists in relation to the idea of God? Should he be considered a nihilist or a Gnostic (or something else entirely)?

As the film adaptation of The Road is set for an October release, we’ll try to see it together and include in our discussion Hollywood’s interpretation of the novel, which is expected to vary significantly from the book.

Aside from lively participation, students will be asked to read excerpts from a few relevant critical articles on McCarthy and take turns making short, informal presentations on unfamiliar or significant allusions in his works to help direct and enrich discussion.

Class meets: Sept. 17, 24; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12 (with an additional meeting to see The Road in theaters, TBD)

HONORS 135 - Ideas in Honors
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
28153
Open
6
6LSA Hnrs Y1
-
W 5:00PM - 6:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
002 (SEM)
P
33519
Closed
0
1LSA Hnrs Y1
-
W 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
003 (SEM)
P
28155
Closed
0
1LSA Hnrs Y1
-
M 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
004 (SEM)
P
28157
Open
2
2LSA Hnrs Y1
-
Th 5:00PM - 6:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
005 (SEM)
P
29877
Open
1
1LSA Hnrs Y1
-
M 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
006 (SEM)
P
29893
Open
3
3LSA Hnrs Y1
-
W 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
007 (SEM)
P
31799
Open
3
3LSA Hnrs Y1
-
M 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
008 (SEM)
P
33521
Open
3
3LSA Hnrs Y1
-
M 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
009 (SEM)
P
48370
Open
7
8LSA Hnrs Y1
-
Tu 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Note: note: does not meet the first week of classes
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 9780307455291
The road, Author: Cormac McCarthy., Publisher: Vintage International 1st Vintag 2008
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780679728757
Blood meridian, or, The evening redness in the West, Author: Cormac McCarthy., Publisher: Vintage International 1st Vintag 1985
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0307278360
The Sunset Limited : a novel in dramatic form, Author: Cormac McCarthy, Publisher: Vintage Books 1. Vintage 2006
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
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