Seminar: British and American Authors

L450 — Spring 2018

Ballantine Hall 335
Days and Times
11:15-12:30 TR
Course Description

More Shapes than One: Literature of Conflict and Social Change In a pamphlet many call the first defense of free speech, John Milton allows that truth "may have more shapes than one." But just as Milton argues for liberty of thought and speech, he also acts -- violently -- on his firmly-held beliefs, advocating the execution of the king. To consider the relationship between social change and forms of action, we will begin with Sophocles' Antigone as an example of resistance before moving into an extended study of Milton's great epic, Paradise Lost, written in the aftermath of his political defeat. Turning from a story of human origins to the struggle for human rights, we will trace the entangled histories of anti-racist and feminist activism from the eighteenth-century Olaudah Equiano and Mary Wollstonecraft, through the first novel by an African American woman, The Bondwoman's Narrative, to the twentieth-century poets Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich. Along the way, you will have the chance to develop your research and writing to make your own place in these stories. Instructor: Penelope Anderson

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