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National Epics

ENGL 0510.401
also offered as: COML 0510
MW 12:00-1:29pm

In this course we will consider texts that become “national epics,” texts that in some sense come to “represent” a nation. How and when might such imaginative texts emerge? Nations change, and old poems may no longer serve. Can the Song of Roland, once compulsory study for all schoolchildren in France, still be required reading today — especially if I am French Muslim? What about El Cid in Spain? How do some texts — such as the Mahabharata in India, or Journey to the West in China — seem more adaptable than others? The course begins in western Europe, but then pivots across Eurasian space to become gradually more global. Most all of us have complex family histories: Chinese-American, French Canadian, Latino/a/x, Jewish American, Pennsylvania Dutch, Lenni Lenape. Some students may choose to investigate, for their final project, family histories (and hence their own, personal connection to “national epics”).

English Major Requirements
  • Literature Seminar pre-1700 (AEB7)
  • Literature Seminar pre-1900 (AEB9)
  • Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora (AEDD)
  • Sector 3 Medieval/Renaissance (AEMR)
English Concentration Attributes
  • Medieval/Renaissance Concentration (AEMC)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes
  • Sector III: Arts & Letters (AUAL)
  • Foundational Approach: Cross Cultural Analysis (AUCC)