|6||Man, God, and Society in Western Literature||Kassman-Tod||MTuWTh 12-2||TBA|
This course will trace the relationship between the human and the divine in Ancient Greek, Modern, and contemporary worlds, as presented in literary art. Against this context, we take the following as our central lines of inquiry: What is the role and meaning of the divine? To what extent does a work of art reflect our own self-interpretation? Is literary art especially well suited to articulate thought that has been marginalized by prevailing cultural norms?
Beginning with Homer’s Odyssey, we reflect upon the ways in which the Olympian gods intervene in human affairs, and what this can tell us about the human’s comportment towards the world. Our study of Attic Greek tragedy will bring us to question whether the clash of normative orders staged in these works reveals society’s role in reconciling internal and external conflict. The possibility of salvation through spiritual renewal is presented by both Hölderlin and Dostoevsky. With regard to both of these writers, we will inquire into the need for love, remembrance, and discourse. Our reflections lead us to Natalie Diaz, Sun-Ra, and Julia Kristeva, three writers whose literary art invites us to question the meaning of ‘Western literature’.