Fulfills General Requirement in Arts and Letters
This course will introduce students to the study of literature- its forms, its beauty, and its power to persuade. By focusing on the theme of politics in texts that represent a wide variety of periods and genres, we will explore what differentiates literature from the field of philosophy, history, and political science, which have their own claims to being the source of political "truths." We will use both formalist and theoretical approaches to analyze how literary texts speak about politics and power relations. Those relations can be embodied in tragic oppositions (ruler and ruled; male and female, old and young) as they are in Sophocles' Antigone or Shakespeare's King Lear, however, they can also be explored from a more intimate perspective in, for example, the emotionally powerful poetry and prose of writers like Walt Whitman, Anna Akhmatova, and Frederick.