Comparative Literature | The Renaissance & 17th Century
C525 | 28844 | S. Van der Laan

4 cr
W 4:00 pm -6:30 pm

We will trace the cultural movement known as the Renaissance from
its origins in fourteenth-century Italy, through France, Spain, and
northern Europe, to its final flowering in seventeenth-century
England. Our syllabus will include lyric poetry, drama, opera, art,
architecture, humanism, history, and political theory. By studying
the complexities of Renaissance humanism and the responses they
provoked, we will chart the shift from the recovery of classical
Latin to the rise of the vernacular, trace the emergence of new ways
of thinking about human history and new paradigms of the self, and
explore the personal and social uses to which all these developments
could be put. We will cross disciplinary boundaries in order to
understand how developments in one form influenced another and how
ideas developed simultaneously across media and genres. We will
explore a range of theoretical approaches to Renaissance texts and
examine the rise of the alternative label "early modern." Was the
Renaissance a genuine rebirth of ancient Greek and Roman culture?
Does it lay the foundations of modernity? Is the concept of
the "Renaissance" still useful—or even tenable?