English R1B

Reading and Composition: Sincerity & Honesty

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2014 Ding, Katherine
TTh 12:30-2 225 Wheeler

Book List

Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park; Coetzee, J. M.: Disgrace; Moliere: Tartuffe; Plato: Hippias Minor; Shakespeare, William: Othello; Sophocles: Philoctetes

Other Readings and Media

Additional selections in course reader:  Aristotle, selections from The Nicomachean Ethics; Niccolo Machiavelli, selections from The Prince; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, selections from Revelries of a Solitary Walker or Confessions; Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying in the Extra-Moral Sense”; Fyodor Dostoevsky, selections from Notes from Underground; Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics”; George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”


What does it mean to be sincere or honest? How does one even define honesty, and how has that definition changed over time? What are the prerequisites for truth-speaking to take place? Is sincerity even possible? What is the cost of honesty, and who pays for it? We will be reading a wide selection of philosophy and literature that wrestle with these questions and arrive at very different answers.

This class is structured as a workshop to hone close reading skills and to guide students through the critical tools needed to write a research paper. To that effect, students will write four formal papers: a short diagnostic essay, a close reading paper, a research summary paper, and a final research paper that combines research and close reading. In addition, students will be turning in informal reflections based on the readings every week in which no paper is due.

Back to Semester List