World Literature: Middle Ages to 17th Century

COM LIT XL 1B

In this course, read some of the essential and extraordinary works of the late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and 17th century, including Dante's Inferno, Shakespeare's Othello, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Milton's Paradise Lost

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What you can learn.

  • Read works or selections by Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Petrarch, Erasmus, Castiglione, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Milton
  • Describe and evaluate the topics and issues each text addresses
  • Explain why topics/issues mattered to the authors of the texts we’re reading
  • Assess the topics/issues addressed: Are the topics relevant to your life? Do the topics matter to you?

About this course:

Class examines some of the extraordinary works of the late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and 17th century, a period of intellectual ferment and literary vigor, the results of which are "monumental literary structures," the gifts of genius. Without these works we literally would not know ourselves as we do. They define our conceptual universe--our picture of heaven and hell, our self-expression with and without God, our self-mockery, our understanding of the uses of power and introspection, our gestures of social and personal display, our sense of human magnificence and human incapacity. From the late Middle Ages, class reads Dante's Inferno, selections from Boccaccio's Decameron and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; from the Renaissance and 17th century, selections from Petrarch's Sonnets, Erasmus's Praise of Folly, Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, selections from Montaigne's Essays, Shakespeare's Othello, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Transferable for UC Credit. 

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