ENGL-269 Religion and Literature
Spring for 2013-2014
"“For most of human history, religion and literature have been virtually inseparable, everywhere.” –Amitav Ghosh
This course will explore how world literature and film address such critical matters as the origins of the universe, the problem of evil, the nature of suffering, salvation and enlightenment, death and the afterlife, mysticism and the occult, war and peace, divine judgment and the apocalypse. Our reading of a wide range of cultural works will be informed by the study of world religions and their sacred texts, including short selections from the Rig-Veda, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Revelation, the Popol Vuh, the Qur’an, the Hebrew Bible, the Tao Te Ching and the Buddhist Pali Canon and Sutras, among others. We will also discuss the significance of religious and philosophical thought in science fiction and fantasy, Japanese anime, world mythologies and art history. Readings may consist of works by Dante Alighieri, Matsuo Basho, Graham Greene, Hermann Hesse, U Sam Oeur, Gita Mehta, Tayeb Salih, T. S. Eliot, Elie Wiesel, Miguel Ángel Asturias, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Ursula Le Guin.
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