Upper-Division Seminar: Why Literature?

Course Number: ENGL 197
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
Advisory Enrollment Information: This course cannot be repeated and is limited to upper-division English majors only.
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 197
Quarter: Winter 2014
Day(s): MW
Time: 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Location: SH 2617

There is a long history of debates about the value literature. Does literature convey any special knowledge? Is it simply a diversion, even in its most sophisticated forms? Or is it essential to human life and mental activity? This course will explore the question, "Why Literature?" by reading critical texts that address literature’s value from ancient Greece to the present time (such as defenses of poetry, sociological and psychological explanations of the value of art, and even Nobel Laureate acceptance speeches), as well as reading a wide range of literary texts. The critical and literary authors we will read include Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Christine de Pisan, Sir Philip Sidney, Percy Shelly, Walt Whitman, Mathew Arnold, Virginia Woolf, Kenneth Burke, William Faulkner, Raymond Williams, Pablo Neruda and Seamus Heaney.