English R1B

Apocalyptic and Dystopian Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Fall 2009 Goodwin, Peter
Goodwin, Peter
MWF 12-1 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Karel Capek, War With the Newts; Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; Cormac McCarthy, The Road; Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen; Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual; a course reader including poems, stories, biblical readings, and critical essays. We will also watch at least one film, Children of Men (dir. Alfonso Cuaron, 2006); and listen to the recording of Diamanda Galas’s 1991 performance of her Plague Mass.


War, environmental disaster, moral decadence, pervasive governmental intrusion into private life—we’ve learned to live with it. But a rich history of dystopian and apocalyptic literature continues to play a crucial role in awakening us to the horrors of these regrettably familiar aspects of life in the twenty-first century. This course will provide a brief tour through this blasted literary landscape. Due to budget constraints, radiation suits will not be provided. The primary goal of this course is to teach you how to conduct and present research in a clear and compelling way. With this in mind, the readings are designed to guide students in their own research about the social functions of apocalyptic thinking. Your final project will be a literary research paper on a topic of your own design. We will devote a considerable amount of class time to learning about the basic tools and techniques for writing a college research paper.

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