Poverty in Contemporary Literature: Themes and Figurations on the British Book Market

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How do innocence, imagination, and youth all interconnect? What does Henry David Thoreau mean when he asserts that "wild thought" is "more swift and beautiful than the tame"? Are our technological advances leading us to an inevitable detachment from the natural world? Or is a widening awareness of ecology fostering a new and deeper relationship to nature? In this course we pose questions related to the themes of nature and wilderness in art, film, philosophy and literature. Course work encourages students to reflect on and write about personal outdoor experiences, and to respond to readings from across the arts, sciences and social sciences.

This course is taught in the active learning classroom, and uses course blogs for the development and publication of student writing. The Irish are not the only Celtic people, but they have more surviving early texts than do the others. Even so, their Iron Age heritage was primarily an oral one now lost to us.

The texts studied in class are intended to give students a glimpse of the lives, literatures, and beliefs of the Irish. A miscellany of themes will be explored including love, loyalty, freedom, fate, identity crisis and several others. The class will examine how the contemporary writer R.

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MacAvoy uses such ancient lore in her fantasy novel, The Grey Horse. Of particular interest will be the protagonist and the resolution of the conflicts she experiences. In the English language, one of the very first people to issue a news publication was Daniel Defoe three hundred years ago, issuing weekly reports from his native London.

He was also one of the early novelists in England. This course will review the past, but very quickly move on to the question how the Novel focusses on contemporary concerns, and the way in which fiction reflects the nature of the times. Students in the course examine the way a novel reflects its own society, its concerns, its problems and its values. The course requires the reading of three novels in their entirety and students will also do some reporting of their own, as well as writing a short piece of fiction. These rebellious thinkers, known as the Romantics, tested the boundaries of individual creativity and self-expression.

Often drawing on classical Greek and Roman literature and mythology, their works cast the individual in a new and important light. These ideas have had a far-reaching influence on Western literary tradition, and while they have been challenged in many ways, twentieth-century literature rests upon Romantic beliefs about the value of the individual.

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We will examine selected poetry, fiction and essays since , as well as excerpts of early classical texts, in order to get a better understanding of the growing importance and celebration of individualism. What happens when the foundation of something we thought solid — like family or love or friendship starts to crumble under our feet? What happens when our notion of who we are is challenged?


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Do we in that moment come into a more profound knowledge of self and environment that will remain fixed and steady? Or do we continually come of age — crossing one threshold into a new landscape only to find that that the earth was not so firm either — and that we can only stay here briefly before beginning the next leg of our lifelong journey. In this course, we will examine the trope of coming of age, exploring various rites of passage primarily in fiction, but also in essay and film.

The class will culminate with students crafting their own coming of age story. This course will focus on examining various myths and fairy tales, and how they have changed and transformed over the years to remain relevant, and interesting, to contemporary audiences. Students will read traditional myths and fairy tales by such authors as the Brothers Grimm, Straparola and Perrault; more contemporary adaptations and updates by several writers, including Gaiman and Willingham; and critical theory by Zipes and Poniewozik. Further, it introduces students to the creative and theoretical works of authors challenging European colonialism and oppression.

Beginning with a socio-historical comparison of development in European and African societies in the year , this course looks at works discussing first contact, mature colonies of intervention, as well as post-independence. At the same time, it uses varying genres, such as poetry to be announced , novels, film, essays, and drama. The work of each of the authors studied will form a thematic unit evaluated in one essay. Students will also have the opportunity to present the class readings in small groups as oral presentations. This fascinating region was divided among the great powers and populated by people from Africa and Asia.

All of them have contributed to the culture of the region. This course looks at the ideas and the art of diverse islands and peoples responding in essays, poems, novels and plays to foreign domination, enslavement, formation of national identity, and articulating new visions of personhood.

The works represent different periods and cultural contexts; each of the selections represents a character on a journey, both real and metaphorical. By the end of the course, students will be able to compare the way the authors have developed the quest for identity, the cultural background affecting the quest of the main protagonist, and the underlying value systems in the literary works. Through reading both fiction and non-fiction, students will engage in discussion, produce several written texts and participate in small group and independent projects.

Although most of the emphasis in this course is on studying texts that explore the vast and universal theme of food, students will enjoy films, guest lecturers, a restaurant visit and the sampling of various foods in class. Classes will consist of short lectures, discussions, graded group work, e-journals, reading quizzes, short writing exercises, oral presentations with peer feedback and process essay writing multiple drafts, peer-editing. Throughout the semester, we will examine the difficult concept of the family as it is practiced in the North America. To do so, we will analyze various narratives both written and visual to see how such an apparently simply concept is represented.

Our goal is to understand how, in narrative form and through literary analysis, concepts of family are interrogated and how we, as readers, respond to the issues raised in the texts we will examine. Shakespeare wrote sonnets addressed to a young man and a dark lady. Together these poems tell a story of rivalry, jealousy, and ultimately unrequited love. This is definitely not another course about his plays.

A subversive challenge to the institutions and official narratives of America as a democratic nation, the literary tradition of horror and the Gothic has had a strong influence on American literature, and has inspired writers from Edgar Poe, to Cormac McCarthy, to Joyce Carol Oates. We will study representative works by these and other major authors, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Shirley Jackson, and H.

After a brief introductory exploration of post-modernism, students will examine a wide range of topics, including recent immigrant fiction, experimental poetry, and recent forays into the philosophical novel. Its imagined world and its characters and story have been reproduced and embellished in visual art, music, poetry and on film. But far from being an escape from reality, we can see that these works, set in an imaginary realm and peopled by fantastic creatures, in fact deal with very real problems and ideas confronted by the 20th and 21st centuries: war, lust for power and its corrupting influence, abuse of the natural world, and the demand upon the individual to fight injustice and evil.

By examining the genre of Fantasy Literature through this fundamental example, we will try to understand how fantasy reveals truths about the real world, and how it works as storytelling, connecting with readers at a deep level through the use of archetype and folklore. In our treatment of the question of how love is represented in literature, we will focus on poems, plays, and stories written in different literary periods and take into consideration their cultural and historical contexts.

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While it can be argued that we all have aspects of our characters that we prefer others not see, the figures in the texts we will be studying, manifest traits that are far more sinister. As we will see, these untrammelled urges often result in chaos and destruction that effect both the individual and society.

In this course, we will study the fragile balance between individual expression and societal convention. Engaging in these readings should not lead to the mistaken conclusion that to understand anti-social behaviour excuses it. Instead, the goal is to encourage students to recognize the value of storytelling in comprehending the darker side of humanity. Class time will consist of in-class writing assignments, lectures, work-shops, and group-work.

Many of the movies we will watch share the concerns of serious literature. We will also read a text to help us understand how movies are made. Movies will frequently be compared in terms of genres, themes, styles of acting and photography, although these concerns are often closely interrelated. Where these voices lead us thematically is not always pleasant: violence, sexual violence, substance abuse, repressed sexuality, patriarchal privilege, female subjugation, social media use and toxic youth culture are just some of the areas we will explore.

The texts are by no means marginal choices; indeed, they are all critically acclaimed, both in Ireland and internationally. Some of the themes explored are unique to contemporary Ireland but many are recognized more generally. Please be warned that the material can be disturbing. The play involves male teenage prostitution; one novel, based on a true story, involves the beating death of a young man by three of his fellow rugby players; the other novel is about a young woman who is raped by a group of young men she knows from her small town. Students will learn to recognize the major thematic elements that are central to Southern literature, particularly the burden of the past regarding constructs of race, gender, social inequality , community, the grotesque, violence, the fierceness and solace of religious faith.

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Students will also learn to distinguish some of the stylistic devices that have evolved from Southern writing, such as the use of dialect, stream of consciousness, complex points of view, and jarring juxtapositions. As we explore some of the major themes of Shakespeare's plays, we gain an understanding of the socio-historical context of the plays' original production and staging and seek insight into the plays' enduring popularity.

We explore the place of Shakespeare's drama within the western literary tradition, and make connections to many of the major philosophical ideas Liberal Arts students encounter in their philosophy courses.

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    Under the header JavaScript select the following radio button: Allow all sites to run JavaScript recommended. Korte , G. Zipp Paperback February 28, Prices and offers may vary in store. Poverty and inequality have gained a new public presence in the United Kingdom.