ENGL 331
Fanaticism Fall 2023
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 333

Class Details

From the early modern period on, writers of literature and political philosophy have repudiated fanaticism, whether as a religious, political, or amorous posture. But what is fanaticism, and why should it be considered such a threat? 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 draw on literary works by Spenser, Swift, M. Shelley, Hogg, Dickens, Eliot, Conrad, among others, and political philosophy and historical writings by Hobbes, Locke, Hume, 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: 22
Expected: 20
Class#: 1838
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Regular class participation and two papers, 7-10 pages in length.
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: English and Comparative Literature majors, then qualified sophomores and first-year students.
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 331 Division I COMP 333 Division I

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