ENGL 319
The Literary Afterlife Fall 2017 Division I; Cross-listed as COMP354 / ENGL319
This is not the current course catalog

Archive Search

Class Details

What do writers mean when they say that they will live on after death through their books? In this course, we will explore the long history of thinking about literature as a way to compensate for mortality, and we will compare the literary afterlife to religious and philosophical versions of eternity. Many of the writers on our syllabus were anxious about the compatibility of the pursuit of worldly fame with the desire for Christian salvation. We will study how their sense of a conflict between the two afterlives changed over time: from the recovery of pagan antiquity during the Renaissance, across the theological transformations of the Reformation, to the consequences of print. The course deals with some of literature’s greatest ambitions–to cheat death, to make a lasting contribution to human culture–but we will often find ourselves caught in an undertow of skepticism. Is writing any less susceptible to decay than human bodies are? If so, is literary accomplishment worth the risk of one’s soul? Authors and texts will include Sappho, Ovid, Lucretius, Ecclesiastes, Augustine, Petrarch, Julian of Norwich, Montaigne, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Richard II, Jonson, Donne, and Milton.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1851
Requirements/Evaluation: one 7-page paper, one 12-page paper, in-class presentation, thoughtful participation in discussions
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 Preference: English majors
Distributions: Division I;
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories A

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search

TERM/YEAR
SUBJECT
DIVISION



DISTRIBUTION



ENROLLMENT LIMIT
COURSE TYPE
Start Time
End Time
Day(s)