English 40 - Winter, 2019

Introductory Topics In Literature

    Topic: "Out of this World" In Search of Utopia

Class Information

Instructor: Werth, Tiffany
CRN: 54893
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
Location: 250 Olson


    “Out of this World” In Search of Utopia

    The search for a better—or at least different—world from our own has fascinated writers at least since the story was told of a Garden of Eden. As a long-running occidental literary genre, Utopianism, the imaginative projection of a society, refers to works that construe visionary, millenarian, apocalyptic and dramatically different forms of society. These forms of social dreaming crystallize the hopes and anxieties of humankind. This course explores utopian (and dystopian) traditions within western literature, whether optimistic or pessimistic, from Plato to Blade Runner. As we read across genres and through time, we will reflect on the discoveries, technical innovations, and paradigm shifts that catalogue how a culture imagines its best and worst self.


    5% Lecture Attendance

    10% Course Engagement: Canvas Discussion Forums.
    6 Canvas group discussions (lowest score dropped) (150-200 word post)

    10% Reading Quizzes (6 quizzes; lowest score dropped)

    20% Compare and Contrast Paper (3-4 pp)

    30% Critical Research Essay (7-8 pp)

    25% Final Exam (2 hours, closed book)


    The Tempest, William Shakespeare
    Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
    Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    Rule of Saint Benedict in English, Ed. Timothy Fry and Timothy Horner
    Three Early Modern Utopias: Thomas More: Utopia / Francis Bacon: New Atlantis / Henry Neville: The Isle of Pines, Ed. Susan Bruce
    The Convent of Pleasure, Margaret Cavendish
    Ecotopia, Ernest Callenbach