Students will engage in close-textual interaction with literature to heighten appreciation for those texts, improved critical and analytical skills in reading and writing, enhanced speaking and listening abilities, and enriched students' academic and personal vocabulary. This course is organized chronologically, so students can see the influences on and evolution of the ideas and forms. Writing, research, and speaking assignments will continue to focus on formulating and expressing ideas and arguments about the readings. Particular emphasis is placed on gaining critical perspective on the relationship between content and form and on synthesizing ideas into clear and concise prose and presentations. To become critical consumers of text, students will be exposed to increasingly more complex texts to which they apply those skills.
- Unit 1: Framing Western Literature:Students will explore selected works of medieval literature and philosophy, closely examining the narrative structure and literary elements such as allegory and satire, noting the way in which these elements reflect social and philosophical views; projects will engage skills such as the participation in academic group discussion and the construction of a literary character study.
- Unit 2: Humanism:Students will explore selected philosophical and literary works of the Renaissance, comparing the works of this period with those of the Middle Ages, looking at their differences and similarities; projects will engage skills such as argumentation, research, and presentation.
- Unit 3: The Quest for Knowledge:Students will examine the philosophical and literary writings of the late seventeenth and eighteenth century, focusing their emphasis on reform, reason, and science; special attention will be paid to the literary form known as satire and what it reveals about the author's purpose.
- Unit 5: Head and Heart:Students will explore the literature and philosophy of the early nineteenth century and the emphasis on emotion in early romantic works, such as Jane Austen’sSense and Sensibility; projects will engage skills such as speaking and listening, comparative analysis, and writing and revising an original narrative.
- Unit 6: The Individual and Society:Students will focus on works and authors concerned with the place of the individual in society during the nineteenth century, including important philosophical works of the period, writing literary analysis essays and constructing and delivering a persuasive speech.
- Unit 7: The Search for Meaning:Students will explore works in which authors confront questions about the nature of existence, the meaning of life, the human psyche, and alienation, with the unit culminating in a multimedia research project which presents and evaluates different critical perspectives of a work of the student's choice.