COMP 421
Fanaticism Fall 2021
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 421 / ENGL 421

Class Details

Eighteenth and nineteenth-century writers of literature and political philosophy repudiate fanaticism, whether as a religious, political or amorous posture. But what is fanaticism, and why should it be considered such a threat, particularly during a period that embraced an enlightened secular rationalism? In this course, we will examine these questions by considering literary texts that dramatize fanaticism in light of accounts by philosophers and historians. Readings will include novels by M. Shelley, Hogg, Dickens, Eliot, Conrad, among others, and political philosophy and historical writings by Voltaire, Kant, Diderot, Burke, Hume, Carlyle, Adorno, and a range of recent critics. We will also watch films by Riefenstahl, Hitchcock and Pontecorvo, and look at paintings, drawings and sculpture by Fragonard, Goya, and Shibonare. Since fanaticism has recently had considerable political currency, we will also examine contemporary accounts that reanimate the debates and concerns of the course.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1930
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two shorter or one long paper(s), approximately 20 pages
Prerequisites: a 300-level English course or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: junior and senior English majors
Materials/Lab Fee: cost of books
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 421 Division I ENGL 421 Division I
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses
ENGL Literary Histories B

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