Don Quixote: How to Read the Ultimate Novel|
Fall 2020 not offered
COL 236, MDST 236, WLIT 247|
No novel is more celebrated than "Don Quixote," albeit in often contrary ways: touchstone at once of the modern and the post-modern; of prosaic and magical realism; of Romantic idealism and skepticism, relativism, or materialism; of a truth-telling folly; and of the competing claims of books and "life" or history and fiction. Sample superlatives: the one text that can challenge Shakespeare in the Western canon (Harold Bloom), all prose fiction is a variation on its theme (Lionel Trilling), one of the four great myths of modern individualism (Ian Watt). Each generation recognizes itself differently in it and every major literary tradition has made it its own. One secret of its lasting appeal is that, brilliantly improvisatory and encyclopedic, it resists being pinned down. Nothing quite prepares us for the hallucinatory thing itself. There is something for every taste: self-invention; the biology of personality; humor, pathos, and tragicomedy; high and low culture; prose, poetry, and theatrics; episodic variety in a long narrative arc; probing examination of the ambiguities of heroism with a parade of spirited and resourceful heroines who rival and often upstage the heroes; and the disruptive transformations of a new world order (the print, educational, and military revolutions; early modern globalization; incipient capitalism; the explosive growth of profit-driven entertainments). A celebration of the transformative power of imagination even as it casts a gimlet eye on how fantasies can go awry, what passes for "the real world" is often as nutty as the hero himself. We will read, discuss, and write about "Don Quixote" in English, together with key examples of the critical, philosophical, literary, and artistic responses it has inspired. The course assumes no familiarity with literature, history, or Spanish; it does call for an interest in grappling with this wonderful text closely, imaginatively, and historically.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(MDST)(MDST-Art/Arch)(MDST-History)(MDST-Lang/Lit)(MDST-Phil/Reli)
Cervantes, Miguel de. DON QUIXOTE. Eds. John Ormsby, Joseph Ramon Jones, Kenneth Douglas. Norton Critical Edition, 1981 [IMPORTANT: IT IS IMPORTANT TO PURCHASE THE REVISED ORMSBY NORTON CRITICAL EDITION, STILL AVAILABLE IN USED COPIES, AND NOT THE MORE RECENT RAFFEL NORTON CRITICAL EDITION]. ISBN 9780393090185.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Two short (3-5 pp.) papers, one short oral presentation (3-5pp. or 5-10 minutes), and one longer final paper (7-10 pp.) constitute 70% of the grade. Preparation for class (including regular short response papers), attendance, and informed participation count for the other 30%.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Readings, written assignments, and class discussion will be in English. Only COL students may take this course CR/U.
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