English 189 - Spring, 2019

Seminar in Literary Studies

    Topic: Reading for a Better World?: Literature and Ethics

Class Information

Instructor: Simpson, David
CRN: 93140
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 308 Voorhies


    Reading for a Better World?: Literature and Ethics

    From Plato to the present, writers and thinkers have debated the value of literature. Does it help us to become better people, developing sympathy sand understanding, or is it an escape valve, a site where we may experience second-hand emotions never requiring to be put into practice? In addressing this question, the seminar will read and discuss a range of poets, novels, critics and philosophers, including Plato, Rousseau, Arnold, Richards, Nussbaum, Dickens, Shelley and Wordsworth. We will read and compare at least one book deemed to have done good (Hard Times), and another to have done harm (Lolita). There will be a midterm and final paper, and a final exam.

    Other materials will be available in a course reader, available at Davis Copy Max (3rd St)


    William Erle, Obi
    Dickens, Hard Times
    Nabokov, Lolita
    Rousseau, Politics and the Arts (ed. Allan Bloom)