English R1B

Reading and Composition: Bloodfeud

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Fall 2013 Hobson, Jacob
MWF 1-2 225 Wheeler

Book List

Antrim, Donald: Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World; Byock, Jesse L.: The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer; Heaney, Seamus: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation; Kristjansdottir, Bergljot S.: The Saga of the People of Laxardal and Bolli Bollason’s Tale

Other Readings and Media

Additional readings will be posted to bspace, including secondary literature and excerpts from The Prose Edda and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Required Films: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone), Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)


Blood, guts, violence, bravery, cowardice, obligation, and various combinations of the above will be the focus of this course. We will study medieval and modern accounts of feud in a variety of genres (including heroic poetry, sagas, grammatical treatises, novels, and spaghetti Westerns) produced in a variety of countries (Iceland, England, the United States, and Italy), and we will do so in both literature and film. Despite their diversity, these texts share a central concern with certain aspects of narrative and form. Our main concerns will accordingly be questions of the persistence and effects of certain narrative forms; the situation of these forms within specific historical and cultural contexts; how—and why—these texts talk to one another; and what happens when they do.

Although feud will be the subject of this course, the object of the course will be to improve your writing and critical abilities in a way that will be helpful regardless of your major. We will discuss what makes an interesting question, how to form a compelling argument, how to compose that argument in clear, artful prose, and how to perform original research. You will write and revise two papers during the semester.

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