Online ENG 201: World Literature (Classical to Renaissance):

The Question of Heroism


2st Summer Session 2004

Instructor: Bruce Matsunaga (Language and Literature 545B),

Online Office Hours: Tuesday 1:00-2:00 p.m. and Thursday 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Course Description

In this course, students will read and study selected works of world literature from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Italian Renaissance Period.  The works selected lend themselves to an examination of mythical heroes and heroism, and in this course we will consider (among other things): “What makes something mythic?” “What do mythic events and narratives have to do with us?” “Who or what is a hero?” "Has heroism changed?" To emphasize the literary, cultural, and human significance of the works we read, we will examine them in their historical and regional contexts as well as within the broader picture of human and cultural development. This approach allows us to consider these works as instrumental in shaping or contributing to a national or philosophical identity, while also appreciating the enduring human values that unite the various literary traditions they represent.  As in all literature surveys, the reading load is heavy and will require you to exercise your best time management skills.