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  • Analyzes, Interprets, and Critiques Literature
  • Provides Lively Discussion and Debate
  • Develops Cultural Aptitude

These courses provide the opportunity to read and discuss novels, short stories, memoirs, plays, and poetry. You will explore classic and contemporary literature from ancient texts to current bestsellers as you gain skills to analyze, interpret, and critique writing; develop cultural aptitude; and participate in nuanced discussions and lively debates.

Reading Dante's Inferno

Examine the key themes, overall message, and place in cultural and literary history of Dante’s Inferno.

2019 Summer
1 section

Detective Narratives: Women Who Sleuth

Explore the literary appeal of the female detective character.

2 sections

Literature for the 21st Century

Discover a generation of authors likely to set literary trends well into the 21st century.

2019 Summer
1 section

The Best and Worst of Times: Charles Dickens's Historical Novels

This course will examine Barnaby Rudge and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

2019 Summer
1 section

The Novel Today

Discuss major new work by today’s top writers, including emerging novelists, award winners, and established favorites.

2019 Summer
2 sections

The Short Story: Coming of Age

Read moving literary short stories that are rendered through the eyes of younger protagonists by writers from diverse backgrounds and regions.

2 sections

Bob Dylan: American Literature's Defiant Prophet

In this course, examine Bob Dylan’s lyrics, watch videos, and read some of the most insightful scholars of Dylan’s oeuvre.

2019 Summer
1 section

The Bible in Literature: Good Books Inspired by the Good Book

Explore the myriad of ways that writers have drawn from the Bible as a source for ideas.

2019 Summer
1 section

Reading Ancient Greek

If you have a basic knowledge of ancient Greek, then use your skills to read and discuss an ancient Greek work that changes each semester.

2019 Summer
1 section

1985: Literature Goes Global

Experience literary works written in 1985, an explosive and eventful year on the global stage.

2005: The Beginning of 21st-Century Literature

Read novels from 2005 that respond to the conditions that marked the beginning of 21st-century culture.

Anthony Trollope: Exploring the Palliser Novels

Examine Anthony Trollope’s penetrating insights on political and social issues in his Palliser novels.

Autobiography and Memoir: Inside the Heart and Soul of Another

Explore the lives, times, and places of others through a variety of autobiographical books, films, and essays.

Brilliant Minds

Read examples of works in which brilliant minds use their gifts to entertain, inspire, engage, and enlighten us.

Contemporary Irish Short Fiction

Survey some of the best contemporary Irish short fiction, starting with work from icons like George Bernard Shaw and Seamus Heaney.

Dictatorship and Its Discontents Through the Lens of Latin American Literature

Read the works of Latin American writers have given their personal versions of “dictatorship and its discontents.”

Images of Women: From Edith Wharton to Jhumpa Lahiri

Read about women living in different times and places and their dilemmas in love, marriage, family, and work.

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: War and Prophecy

Examine the different types of prophets in the Hebrew Bible, and explore the role they played within their larger society.

Making a Murderer: Novels, Documentaries, and Stories of True Crime

Deepen your knowledge of current events, criminology, psychology, and storytelling’s power by exploring narratives of crime and punishment.

Masterpieces of 20th-Century Literature

This course is devoted to the modernist novels of the 20th century that now enjoy classic status.

Memoirs with a Social Conscience

Read and discuss five memoirs that succeed in relating personal stories to a larger social and political framework.

Nervous Conditions: Contemporary Literature of Sub-Saharan Africa

Explore the vast and diverse terrain of sub-Saharan Africa by reading and discussing literature from the region.

Novels with a Social Conscience: From Orwell to Baldwin

Examine eight novels that use moving, memorable stories to illuminate the injustices evident in cultures and communities.

Plays with a Social Conscience

Examine how eight well-known playwrights bring moving, memorable stories to the stage and illuminate injustices evident in culture and communities.

Reading the World: Selections from Today's Newsstand

Discuss articles from a range of magazines and online platforms, including The New Yorker and Charlie Hebdo.

Shakespeare: King Lear and Twelfth Night

Explore two of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays, Twelfth Night and King Lear, and the cultural forces that helped to shape them.

Shakespeare: Two Tragedies of Forbidden Love

Explore two iconic Shakespeare tragedies, Othello and Romeo and Juliet, and the cultural forces that helped to shape them.

The Great Ones: Artists from the Kennedy Center Honors

Explore the lives and legacies of America’s greatest artists, from dancers and actors to musicians and comedians.

The Greatest Journey of Them All: Reading Homer's Odyssey

Relive—or enjoy for the first time—the fabulous adventures of Odysseus as he journeys home to his wife and son after the Trojan War.

The Literary Life in New York

See New York through the lens of four distinctive novelists.

Women Write Their Lives

Explore the accounts that some exceptional writers who are women have given of their lives, times, places, and experiences.

Women of the Mystery: From Agatha Christie to J. K. Rowling

Explore the origins of detective fiction and the prominent role that women writers have played in enhancing its literary reputation.

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: The Five Books of Moses (Torah)

Read the first five books of the Bible, tracing the processes by which they were formed and considering the multiple contexts that informed them.

Religion and Literature: From the Bible to James Baldwin

Explore themes—love, death, evil, suffering, and forgiveness—across religious and literary texts from the Western canon and beyond.

Tragedy and Philosophy: Philosophical Implications of Ancient Greek Tragedy

Explore the grand themes and philosophical ideas that inspired ancient Greek dramatists.