Intro to Lit: Genre (Spiritual Literature)

This course on “speaking to spirit” explores a number of
different genres—from Hindu bhakti
(devotional) poetry to Greek tragedy to modern stories—where a search or direct
address to gods or spirits or inner self makes up part of the genre.  We will start with sometimes contentious
relationships with deity: Job and Yahweh in the Old Testament, Oedipus and
Apollo in two plays by Sophocles, and Arjuna and Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita. Then we will read
more intimate addresses to spirit in the Middle Ages: the Sufi poet Rumi, Hindu
worshipers in Speaking to Shiva, and
the Catholic nun Julian of Norwich.  We
will end with some modern stories by Flannery O’Connor, poems by Lucille
Clifton and Anne Sexton, and a creative non-fiction book by Annie Dillard, For the Time Being.

Students will write four 3-5-page papers, two 2-page papers,
a midterm, and a final. Discussion counts. Books will be available from
Revolution Books.