Fulfills Distributional Course in Arts and Letters
When and what was the Renaissance? How can we calm that civilization somehow experienced a "new beginning" in the 15th and 16th centuries? This course will push the margins of the term "Renaissance" in two ways: chronologically- by looking back into the Medieval period and forward into the eighteenth century- and geographically- by examining contact points between Europe, the East, and the New World. Literature and literary methods will form the backbone of our study, but we will also consider the culture of Renaissance Europe in terms of politics, art, religion, music, and science. Broadly speaking, we will ask ourselves whether Renaissance women and men were really that different from anyone else. How did they imagine themselves and their cultural institutions? What was so special about the Renaissance and what can we learn from its most famous individuals (Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Bacon, Milton, Elizabeth I, for example)? Class participation will be a key element of this seminar. Course members will also be responsible for producing short response papers, several longer essays, and at least one oral presentation.