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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Barbara J Henry
C LIT 251
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Comparative Literature: Themes

Reading and analyzing literature based upon rotating themes such as love, sex, and murder, haunted houses, and dreams and memory. Selections drawn from European, English, and American literature, not limited to period and genre.

Class description

Underworlds are both real and metaphoric: subways and coalmines, Hades and Hell, criminal subcultures, political undergrounds, horror-movie basements and windowless office cubicles. Stories of these underworlds address the most profound questions of our lives: what happens after we die? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are our responsibilities to our world, each other, ourselves? This class looks at works of art and literature from Russia, the US, and Europe, set in many different underworlds, which intersect with and shape our perceptions of the world around us today.

Student learning goals

You will learn to recognize the mythic underworld and understand how it functions not only in art, but in your own life.

General method of instruction

Lecture & discussion

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites, but a willingness to be creative is encouraged.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be asked to bring in one example from contemporary culture that makes use of the underworld tropes we'll be examining. Class participation will be 40% of the grade; final project will consist of either a paper on a topic of the student's choosing, or a creative project on student's personal conception of the underworld & afterlife.

Participation, final project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Barbara J Henry
Date: 11/18/2013