English R1A

Reading and Composition: Gods and Monsters

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2013 Lorden, Jennifer A.
MWF 3-4 222 Wheeler

Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: Dream Visions and Other Poems; Heaney, Seamus: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition); Potok, Chaim: My Name is Asher Lev; Shakespeare, William: Macbeth; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein

Other Readings and Media

Film: Amadeus, dir. Miloš Forman, 1984. 


This course is a study of the nature of greatness. We will discuss the strained relationship between greatness and goodness, and the relationship between goodness and its necessary counterpart, evil. We will be reading texts that all, in one way or another, interrogate ideas of greatness and goodness, and we will be asking ourselves how they present various states of being exceptional, and what relation may exist between the exceptional and the monstrous. How do literary works reflect and respond to cultural and religious notions of greatness and goodness, and how do they complicate our understanding of evil? How do our gods and monsters reveal what may be most essential to ourselves?

Of course our immediate practical task is the development of critical reading and writing skills. To that end, you’ll complete weekly readings with an eye toward contributing to a critical conversation, both through your in-class discussions with classmates and essays closely focused on the readings. You’ll write four of these essays and revise three of them, in addition to a short initial diagnostic essay.

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