Invention of Literature
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: University-wide Programs
Department: University Lecture Program
Course Number: ULEC 2740
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Literature
  • Humanities
  • Fiction
This course introduces students to the history of literature through an examination of early works that have shaped the way we read. Some of those works are still famous – the epics of Homer, the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of Luke, the Metamorphosis of Ovid, the Inferno of Dante. Others might be less familiar reminders of forgotten kinds of reading – the ancient Greek romance, Leucippe and Clitophon, a medieval saint’s life, Hrotsvitha’s Theophilus, and an intricate medieval allegory, The Romance of the Rose. In a series of fifteen lectures followed by discussions, you will be asked to consider three very basic questions. What do people read and why do they do it? How does what we read change the way we write? What do we do when we discover that other people read differently from us? The answers to these questions will serve not only as an introduction to European literary history, but will also provide a basis for thinking about the personal and social functions of reading, the complex ways in which writers borrow and rework the material they have inherited from the past, and the emergence of literature as a crucial part of liberal education. This course satisfies one of the Foundations requirements for Lang Literary Studies majors.
Students must register for both the lecture and discussion section of this course.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Undergraduate students.