L213 24442 LITERARY MASTERPIECES
Shannon Gayk

9:05a-9:55a MWF (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

TOPIC: “Quest and Pilgrimage”

In this course we will critically examine those literary works which have garnered sustained praise and attention by their readers over the past three millennia, asking of each: “What has set this work apart as a ‘masterpiece?’” In order to approach this question, we will read a variety of early texts but will focus on the theme of “quest and pilgrimage” in these writings. We will consider the following questions among others: Why do discourses of quest and pilgrimage become central literary tropes? How do these texts construct heroic figures? How and why are quests and pilgrimages internalized or used to map the inner life or spiritual journey? Course readings will include selections from The Iliad, The Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and Don Quixote. We will also consider several modern literary and cinematic representations and reconsiderations of the issues raised by these earlier works. Course requirements include short written assignments, two papers, and midterm and final exams.