Introduction to Literary Traditions
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NLIT 2001
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
This course surveys a wide spectrum of literature, from ancient texts to postmodern and postcolonial works. Preparing students for advanced courses in literature, it also provides a framework for considering how we became the writers and readers we are today and what new insights might be needed by the readers and writers of tomorrow. By reading the Bible in juxtaposition with the Qu'ran and the Tao Te Ching and the Homeric epics in dialogue with later works derived from them, we explore the evolution of the modern poem, short story, and drama. We examine literary tropes like metaphor, symbol, and allegory and discuss the differences between them. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the course provides a set of basic tools with which to negotiate literary analysis without presuming a single authoritative tradition or canon, preparing students to participate in debates over the formation of the literary canon and its deconstruction.