New: Literature Art And Material Culture In Europe: The Comic Thread
The course will explore the literature, art, and material culture of Europe, with reference to six key literary texts: Aristophaness Women in the Thesmophoria, Plautuss The Haunted House, Miguel de Cervantess Don Quixote, Jonathan Swifts Gullivers Travels, Gogols The Nose, Julian Barness A History of the World in 10 Chapters. It will focus on the influence that each of these texts had on those that followed; and on the complex and changing inter-relationships between literature, the visual and performing arts, and material culture in European culture and society.
Who is this course for
No prior knowledge is necessary, but a good understanding of English is essential.
We will be discussing the following books, which you may wish to buy or borrow and read in your own time:
Aristophanes & S Halliwell (Trans) 2016 Frogs and Other Plays. Oxford World's Classics.
Plautus & E. Segal (Trans) 2008 Four Comedies. Oxford World's Classics.
M. Cervantes & J. Rutherford (Trans) 2003 Don Quixote. Penguin.
J. Swift & D. Roberts (ed) 1992 Gulliver's Travels. Wordsworth Classics.
N. Gogol & R. Maguire (Trans) 2005 Diary of a Madman & Selected Stories. Penguin.
J. Barnes 2009 A History of the World in 10 Chapters. Vintage.
What does this course cover
We will begin by looking at the concept of 'Comic' literature in global perspective; and at key issues of literary influence, and inter-relationships between different forms of cultural and creative expression. We will then examine each of the key texts on its own terms; in the context of the times and places in which they were produced; and in terms of their broader influence in the definition and transformation of national and European cultures. We will explore the invention, endurance, appropriation, and modification of tradition in response to changing social, political, and religious ideas; and the way in which such traditions continue to develop and influence the Modern World.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Explain the concept of 'Comic' literature, with reference to key texts in the European tradition.
- Identify a range of influences of one text on another; and of specific literary works on other forms of cultural expression (painting, sculpture, material culture, music, drama).
- Contribute to a discussion on the philosophical and religious ideas that underpin key literary works.
- Define key ideas in literary criticism and art history.
- Use the knowledge gained on the course to identify aspects of Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern thought that continue to influence the cultural life of the Modern World
What will it be like
Each week there will be an informative talk using PowerPoint; readings from the key texts and related works; and group discussion of issues arising from those texts. You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. Occasionally homework reading will be provided. Although this is not an accredited course leading to a formal qualification, you will be encouraged to complete a self-assessment form in which you can monitor your progress.
What else do you need to buy or do
Bring note-taking materials to all sessions
What this course could lead to
You might consider enrolling on other history/history of art/literature/philosophy courses run by the Centre.
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why come to Mary Ward Centre?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’