COMP 365
Fanaticism Fall 2014
Division I
Cross-listed ENGL 355 / COMP 365
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

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, Carlyle, Mill, and Adorno. Literary readings will be drawn from works by Swift, de Stael, Shelley, Hogg, Dickens, Eliot, Hawthorne, Conrad, and Sinclair, as well as films by Dreyer, Riefenstahl, Le Roy and Pontecorvo, and 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 that reanimate the debates and concerns of the course.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1614
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will write one 6- to 8-page paper and one 10- to 12-page paper
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: junior and senior English majors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 355 Division I COMP 365 Division I
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses
ENGL Literary Histories B

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