English R1B

Reading and Composition: �Crises of Faith�

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2006 Paul Hurh
MWF 1-2 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"James Hogg, Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers

Strunk and White, Elements of Style.

A Course Reader will include shorter works and excerpts. Some films will also be shown."


"The topic of this course examines literary portrayals of faith and doubt. By looking at texts which explore both the human need for belief without proof and the tendency of reason toward skepticism, we will chart a literary history of personal religious doubt. Our �faiths� will be varied: given the nature of English literature, many of the works will concern Christian faith, but other faiths, such as in self-reliance, in democracy, in jihad, in atheism, and in science will also be discussed. In the ambiguous space of religious faith, where truth cannot be verified by experience, we find a topical analog for the strangeness of literature, where fiction is neither truth nor falsity. Religious crisis has a habit of veering from the extremely personal to the outwardly social, and we will look at how different writers depict the origins of personal religious crises as well as their consequences in the social and global spheres.

The materials for the course are arranged to provide many avenues for honing students� research and writing skills. In keeping with the R&C requirements, students will write two research papers totaling 16 pages, with at least an equal number of pages and preliminary drafting and revising."

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