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This course surveys classics of Western literature in their cultural context. The course is divided into three parts, each focused on one of the genres featured in the course title. The first section of the course considers the sweep of drama from its earliest religious and ritual context (Oedipus the King) to works that reflect a culture adrift from its moorings (Waiting for Godot). The second section presents poetry as a "rediscovering of common experience," beginning with William Shakespeare's sonnets and moving through William Blake, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Adrienne Rich. In the third part of the course, a survey of narrative literature, students read and discuss authors such as Charles Dickens, Emily Brontė, Herman Melville, Franz Kafka, and Alice Walker. Course content consists of a series of half-hour video lectures that discuss authors and works. Works of literature will be sampled or read in entirety from both online sources and hard-copy texts. This course is based on the course "Understanding Literature and Life" from the Teaching Company.
Preview the Online Syllabus
(Please visit the University bookstore to view the correct materials for each course by semester as the contents of the actual online syllabus may differ from the preview due to updates or revisions)