Great Texts Upper Level Courses-Spring 2019
Early Modern Age (GTX 3321)
Dr. William Weaver – TR 11:00 – 12:15
The early modern age was an age of literary as well as scientific discovery. Erasmus and Marguerite de Navarre were champions of the “new learning,” which represented a new approach to both sacred and secular texts. Shakespeare wrote for an institution – the London public theater – that was only three decades old when King Lear was first performed. Cervantes, a failed playwright, arguably invented the novel with Don Quixote. Everybody on the syllabus, it seems, was pursuing “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme” (Paradise Lost 1.16). What questions about the self and its place in the world were driving these literary endeavors?
Great Texts by Women (GTX 3330)
Dr. Lynne Hinojosa - TR 11:00-12:15
In this course we will read texts from across the centuries written by women. We will focus on how these women writers interpreted, questioned, and contributed ideas within four often overlapping realms: the intellectual tradition and the concept of virtue; the church and the pursuit of holiness; art and the concept of beauty; and politics and the gender norms of society. Texts will include: Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues, Simone Weil’s Gravity and Grace, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Masterworks in Art (GTX 3340)
Dr. Elizabeth Corey – MW 1:00 – 2:15
A survey of selected (mostly Western) masterworks of art: painting, sculpture and architecture—from the Renaissance to the more personalistic art of late 20th C North America and Europe. We will begin by looking at the ways that Renaissance artists built upon and revitalized the Classical tradition of Greece and Rome. We will then move through the Baroque masterworks of Rubens and Rembrandt and others, into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including photography and architecture. We will end with a close look at modern art and the theories that lie behind it.
Master Works in Drama (GTX 3341)
Dr. David Jortner – TR 12:30 – 1:45
The nature and role of dramatic literature both in cultural and theatrical history is hotly debated. Is drama merely a blueprint for theatrical practice, an art form in its own right, or a hybridization of the two? What is the role of philosophy, art, literature, and cultural studies in writing and analyzing drama? How do we, as artists, scholars, and critics, determine artistic and literary value? It is my hope that we will wrestle with these questions (and others) throughout the semester. This class involves a survey and analysis of some of the most important works of dramatic literature in our intellectual tradition and involves new ways of seeing and reading dramatic literature.
Great Texts in Business (GTX 3351)
Dr. Scott Moore - MW 1:00 – 2:15
In this course, we will read and discuss some of the great texts that address questions of business and commercial life. These texts may include historical and/or philosophical treatments of business, such as Adam Smith's Of the Wealth of Nations, Thomas More's Utopia, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, and Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, as well as literary treatments of business, such as Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Dickens's Hard Times, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Forster's Howard's End, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, or short stories by Flannery O'Connor, Franz Kafka, or Wendell Berry.
Life and Love in the Ruins: Great Texts in the Twentieth Century (GTX 4321)
Dr. Barry Harvey – TR 2:00 – 3:15
The twentieth century was the most violent and hate-filled in human history to date. The unabashed optimism that accompanied its beginnings was quickly shattered by two world wars and innumerable regional conflicts, fascist and communist tyranny, genocide on an unimaginable scale, economic depression, segregation, apartheid, social fragmentation, and ecological devastation, just to mention a few lowlights. In spite of the bloodshed and destruction, however, there were some still seeking to discern signs of life in the midst of the animosity and destruction. Read from among such noted authors as John Dewey, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Toni Morrison, Countee Cullen, Elie Wiesel, Walker Percy, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, and P.D. James as they nurture the spark of hope left dampened by the events of the time.
Dante and Italian Renaissance (GTX 4330)
Dr. Sarah-Jane Murray – MW 2:30 – 3:45
This class takes a deep-dive into Dante's Purgatorio, canto by canto, as well as a selection of contemporary materials and modern inheritors of the Divine Comedy. Discover a Celtic vision of the underworld in St. Patrick's Purgatory. Journey through key myths drawn from Ovid and retold by Dante's contemporaries. Rethink the influence of Dante on C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader and on Camus's Fall. Most importantly, encounter the qualities and characteristics that make Dante one of the greatest storytellers of all time.
Great Texts in Modern Science (GTX 4341)
Dr. Eric Martin – TR 3:30 – 4:45
This is a class on the philosophy and history of science, with a special emphasis on some of modern science’s influential primary texts, such as Darwin’s Origin of Species. Students will learn the foundational content and context of several lineages of natural sciences through engagement with historical texts. This will provide familiarity with multiple aspects of modern sciences, and will set the stage for the latter part of the class, which involves theoretical reflection on the nature of those sciences more generally. Do natural sciences provide any sort of unified or coherent world picture? If so, what kind? What is the role of human beings in that picture, and what are the possibilities for religious belief, free will, or ethical commitment? Is there a particular scientific method, or a multiplicity of ways of knowing about the world? Science is indisputably a central facet of modernity; this class will equip students with analytical tools needed to better understand the sciences, their history, and their role in society.
Capstone: Embodied Intellectual Virtue (GTX 4343)
Dr. William Weaver – TR 9:30 - 10:45
Combining discussion of theoretical treatments with fictional examples in literature, this course will examine the intellectual virtues, including practical wisdom (prudence), understanding, love of knowledge, humility, wit, and courage, to name a few. What is an intellectual virtue? What does it contribute to the Christian life? What does it mean to embody the intellectual virtues?
Great Texts in the Fantasy Tradition (GTX 4V99)
Dr. Ralph Wood - TR 11:00 – 12:15
Although elements of the uncanny and the ghostly, the marvelous and the supernatural, appear with the very appearance of literature itself, fantasy as genre comes to full expression mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. This course will explore three important fantasy writers of the 19th century (George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe) and four from the 20th (Helen Mirrlees, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien). Our aim will be to discern how fantasy offers an alternate way of viewing the world amid a materialist and consumerist culture.
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