ENG150Y1Y - L0101

Literature Traditions


Monday, 1 am - 3 pm

Instructor Information

J. Rogers

E-mail: johnd.rogers@utoronto.ca

Course Description

An exploration of some of the greatest works of literature composed over the course of three thousand years. We begin in the fall term with the creation stories of the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish and the Hebrew Bible, the Odyssey of Homer, and the lyrics of Sappho. For the remainder of the course, we trace the undeniable but controversial influence of those ancient works on our understanding of story-telling, nation-building, the origin of the cosmos, and the meaning of the human. The fall term ends with Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In the winter term, we extend our investigation through a study of four masterpieces of modernity, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The course concludes with a look at a seminal work of science fiction, A Voyage to Arcturus, and the mind-bending stories of the post-modern Argentinian writer Borges.

Required Readings

  • Enuma Elish
  • Chapters 1-3 of Genesis
  • Selections from Homer’s Odyssey
  • The poetry of Sappho
  • Cervantes’ Don Quixote
  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
  • Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
  • David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus
  • The fiction of Jorge Luis Borges

First Three Authors/Texts:

  • Selections from Myths of Mesopotamia (Quercus)
  • The Book of Genesis (Quercus)
  • The Odyssey of Homer

Methods of Evaluation

  • Informal discussion posts (15%)
  • Participation (15%)
  • Two short essays (10% each)
  • Two brief quizzes (5% each)
  • Final essay (40%)