Introduction to Literature: Literary History (Love and Literature)

Ask 100 different people to define love and receive 100 different answers. Words like affection, adoration, devotion, desire, connection, and commitment, may emerge as patterns, but to borrow, and rephrase, the words of Raymond Carver, what are we really talking about when we talk about love?

Let’s take a literary journey, from ancient Greece, to medieval England, to modern day, and consider more deeply how love has been depicted through time, genre, and form. We will examine a wide array of literary forms, such as letters, speeches, poetry, the play, and the short story. Along the way, we will consider theoretical questions such as: how are love and faith connected? What about love and desire? How is love related to mortality? Immortality? How do we communicate love? What is the significance of the forms in which we write about love?

This course will be taught online synchronous. 

*Tentative text list

Plato, The Symposium
Goscelin of St. Bertin, The Book of Encouragement and Consolation
Shakespeare, Antony & Cleopatra
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese 

Selections from:
Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Martin Hägglund, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom
bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions