ENGL 355 Spring 2013 Fanaticism

Eighteenth-- and nineteenth-century writers of literature and political philosophy repudiate fanaticism--over and over again. Whether as a religious, political or amorous posture, fanaticism is universally decried and never avowed. But what is fanaticism, and why should it be considered such a threat, particularly during a period that for the most part embraced an enlightened secular rationalism? In this course, we will explore these questions by considering literary texts that dramatize fanaticism in light of accounts by such philosophers and historians as Voltaire, Kant, Rousseau, Hobbes, Hume, Burke, Tocqueville, Carlyle, Mill, William James, and Adorno. Literary readings will be drawn from works by Swift, Wordsworth, Hogge, Dickens, Eliot, Hawthorne, Conrad, and Henry James. We will also look at drawings and engravings by Hogarth and Goya. While some of these works oppose fanaticism to enlightenment values, others see it as an effect of those values, which include sympathy, self?examination, and political flexibility. Since fanaticism has recently had considerable political currency, we will also consider some contemporary accounts, by Walter Laqueur and others, which reanimate the debates and concerns of the course.
Class Format: discussion/seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: students will write one 6- to 8-page paper and one 10- to 12-page paper
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Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate
Enrollment Preference: junior and senior English majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses,ENGL Literary Histories B
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 3864
ENGL355-01(S) SEM Fanaticism Division 1: Languages and the Arts Anita R. Sokolsky
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Griffin 1 3864
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