Intro to Lit: Culture (Literature of War)

This is a
writing-intensive course dealing with the way war has been represented in
Western literary works in a variety of genres, from the first significant work
of Western literature, the Iliad, to a memoir of the first Iraq
war.  Lectures on each of the works will
precede class-wide and group discussion of instructor- and student-generated
questions.  In addition to analysis of
specific literary and rhetorical features of these works (e.g., heroic similes
in Homer, alienation effects in Brecht, fragmentary narrative in Going After
), we will be considering questions of justice, trauma, and gender
in many of these works and viewing film versions of some of them.  

Course Requirements

  • Attendance and Participation (10%)
  • Summary of Iliad (10%)
  • Character Comparison (15%)
  • Explication (20%)
  • Thematic essay (25%)
  • Final exam (20%)



Required texts

  • Homer, The Iliad
  • The
    Song of Roland
  • Shakespeare, Henry V
  • Brecht, Mother Courage and her
  • Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato
  • Bobbie Ann Mason, In Country
  • Anthony Swofford, Jarhead
  • digital copies of selected lyric war
    poetry  and a few pieces of
    literary, psychiatric, and ethical criticism