Great Books Courses (Division 382)

192 Great Books. Open to Honors freshmen only. (4). (HU).

Great Books 192 explores the extension of the Greek tradition into the Judaeo-Christian tradition of Western European thought. The thematic backbone of the course will be the redemptive nature of time, and the opposition between the redemption of the community in history and the redemption of the individual soul. We will read: Plato, The Phaedo, The Symposium, and selections from The Republic; Vergil, The Aeneid; selections from the Bible; St. Augustine, The Confessions; and Dante, The Divine Comedy. Because it is important for the history of English literature and the history of English style, the Authorized Version of the Bible, commonly called the King James Version, will be used for the Biblical selections. Great Books 192 is open only to freshmen in the Honors Council; other students wishing to take a similar course are encouraged to elect Great Books 202. (Cameron)

202 Great Books. (3). (HU).
Section 001.
When the unity of the Medieval Catholic world splintered into the plurality of European national monarchies bringing with it the problems of subjectivism, democracy, and heterodoxy, literature became a mirror of this exciting development. We will begin with Dante's Divine Comedy which both sums up the achievements of the Medieval world and foreshadows the tensions which are to come. Montaigne's Essays brood over a human self become fascinating, but troublesome. Shakespeare, in King Lear and The Tempest, probes the nature of the individual caught between the innocence of nature and the seduction of power. We will close the term by examining the struggle with individuation in its religious and philosophical dimensions, first in Milton's attempt to restore order in Paradise Lost, and finally in Goethe's Faust, who has become the symbol for both the creative vitality and the destructive possibilities possessed by modern man. Students will be evaluated on class participation, two shorter papers, and midterm and final exams. (Paslick)

Section 002. Our journey begins in an ancient world with readings from the Bible : selections from Genesis, the Exodus saga, Job, and the Gospel According to Saint Matthew. We will then turn to a study of two of the greatest works of the Middle Ages, Saint Augustine's Confessions and Dante's Divine Comedy. After a midterm examination and a week of Spring Recess, we return to engage four books from the Renaissance: two small masterpieces, Machiavelli's The Prince and Sir Thomas More's Utopia; two big ones, Cervantes' novel Don Quixote and Milton's epic Paradise Lost. Finally, our journey will take us to the Age of Neoclassicism and Romanticism as we read Voltaire's ultimate hard-luck story, his comic satire Candide, and Goethe's passionate short novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. Unless you care to think and talk and write about such matters as responsibility, courage, honor, friendship, loyalty, love, justice, goodness, ambiguity, time, power, death, and faith, this journey is not for you. If you do care about what is true or noble or good, you may enjoy the contacts we will make along our way. These great books, if you choose, may become an integral part of the individual you who travels his or her separate way after our common journey's end. As well as attending to and participating in the journey, students will write three short papers (total for the term of about ten pages), a midterm, and a final exam. (Wallin)

221. Great Books of the Far East. (4). (HU).

An introduction to some of the great books that have exerted a commanding influence on the lives, thought, and literary experience of the Chinese and Japanese people through the ages, and that have the power to delight or enlighten Western readers today. Texts will include two monuments of fiction, The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber) and The Tale of Genji, set in two high points of these great civilizations and depicting in vivid detail their splendor and decadence. Other Chinese readings will include two Confucian texts of social and political philosophy; one mystical Taoist text; one wild Buddhist text about the experience of enlightenment; selections from The Book of Songs; and Monkey, a novel of myth, fantasy, comedy, and allegory. Other Japanese readings will include some classical poetry, a tenth-century woman's record of her own marriage; a travel journal by the haiku poet Matsuo Basho; a pair of novels portraying families in the context of social change by two of modern Japan's masters of fiction, Matsume Soseki and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro; and Ibuse Masuji's Black Rain, a novel documenting the bombing of Hiroshima. Occasional short written assignments, two brief papers, and a final examination are required. (Lin and Ito)


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