Honors | Ideas & Experience I
H211 | 17529 | Julia Bondanella
H211 acquaints you with writings from early Western culture, from
classical antiquity and Biblical times to the Renaissance. Class
explorations focus upon writers who have engaged in an ongoing
debate that has shaped Western values; they are designed to make you
think about how and why Western values have changed over time, and
where they have remained the same. This course can help you analyze
how you have come to hold the views that govern your behavior and
your choices. It offers you different models of thinking and of
behavior, along with ways of responding to some of the basic
questions human beings have always asked about life in this world
¡ñ Do human beings have special responsibilities as individuals? As
members of a society?
¡ñ What is the relationship between our emotions and our
¡ñ What should define our relationship to the natural world?
¡ñ What does it mean to be good or wicked?
¡ñ What should a leader be like? What makes a person a hero or
¡ñ How can we educate people so that they develop good values and
become productive citizens, if that is a goal?
This seminar is an intensive writing class. The reading in this
seminar will help you continue to improve your ability to read
challenging texts and understand complex issues; the writing
assignments will enable you to practice your analytic skills and
explore ways of improving your writing and thinking; the class
discussions will help you learn to articulate your ideas in front of
other people and to evaluate diverse points of view in a tolerant
fashion. You will write several short commentaries and 3¡ª4
analytical essays of 4¡ª5 pages. You may always revise your papers,
if you are not satisfied with the results. You are required to
rewrite at least one essay. There will be no final examination. If
you have any questions, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each of the following texts expresses a particular vision of human
life and human possibilities as well as a specific approach to human
problems; each text also relates in some significant ways to others
being read. You will be able to gain an appreciation of the
interconnectedness of your tradition--the way artists and writers
have learned from and interacted with their predecessors as well as
the significance of the past in our own lives and thinking. You
should become aware of what it has meant to be an original thinker
or writer (up to this century).
Reading assignments will be made each class period and will include
entire texts or significant portions of complete texts. All the
texts below are in paperback.
Note: This list is subject to small changes. You should have read
Genesis 1-3 from a Bible, either the Revised Standard Version or the
King James for the first class. The King James Version or the
Revised Standard Version of the Bible is preferred. You can find
the RSV at the following url:
Euripides, Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Electra, Helen (trans.
Morwood), Oxford Univ. Press (ISBN: 0192824422
Plato, The Republic (trans. Waterfield), Oxford Univ. Press (ISBN:
Virgil, The Aeneid (trans. Fitzgerald), Random House, Vintage
Dante, Inferno (trans. Hollander & Hollander), Anchor Books (ISBN:
Boccaccio, The Decameron (trans. Musa & P. Bondanella), New American
Library, Mentor (ISBN: 0451627466). Second edition only.
Machiavelli, The Prince (ed. & trans. P. Bondanella), Oxford Univ.
Press (ISBN: 019280426-X)
Cellini, Benvenuto, My Life (trans. Bondanella & Bondanella), Oxford
Univ. Press (ISBN: 0-19-282849-5)