“Abandon all hope, you who enter here.” These ominous words, at the gates of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, summon up images of fire, intense suffering, demons, and strange monsters. How did the Underworld become so ghastly and bleak?
In this class, we will embark on a sometimes disturbing, sometimes transformative, but always exhilarating odyssey through Underworlds both ancient and modern. Contemporary readings and viewings will range over a wide variety of media, including literature, film, song, drama, and painting. Writing assignments will encompass both analytical essays and a variety of creative exercises, including the construction and narration of our own personal underworld journeys.
This course fulfills the first year writing requirement, and its primary goals are improvement in analytical thinking and writing and introduction to classical and contemporary works of literature.