ENGL 392
Wonder Fall 2017 Division I; Cross-listed as COMP392 / ENGL392
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We tend to imagine “wonder” as a naïve, wide-eyed response, something quite distinct from the cold and sophisticated act of critical analysis. In this discussion class, we will consider wonder as an eminently analyzable concept, but one that raises provocative questions about the nature and limits of our own, distinctly modern forms of critical engagement. The course examines three historical incarnations of “wonder,” each involving complex relations among the aesthetic, philosophical, and social domains: the Renaissance tradition on wonder and the marvelous; the eighteenth-century analysis of the sublime; and twentieth-century accounts of the culture of spectacle. We will consider writers such as Shakespeare, Sir Thomas Browne, Wordsworth, Borges, and W.G. Sebald (all wonderful); painters such as Leonardo and Vermeer, the photography of Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth; films including Lang’s Metropolis and Scott’s Blade Runner; and critical or philosophical writers, including Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and Walter Benjamin.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 1873
Requirements/Evaluation: three papers totaling 20 pages
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 and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I;
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses; ENGL Literary Histories A

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