What Is Found There: Literature and the Good Life (EN101)
“It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
of what is found there.”
In this course, we will begin by asking some foundational questions: What is literature? Who reads it and why? How are literature and literacy changing in the 21st century? As the poet William Carlos Williams suggests, literature is not the same as the news. Poems, short stories, novels, and plays make unique demands on us as readers; they ask us to think, feel, and experience the world in new and sometimes difficult ways. Throughout the semester, we will immerse ourselves in a range of literary works from the nineteenth century to the present in order to examine “what is found” in literature. What is it that makes this art form unique? What can literature offer to our contemporary world? Is literature an essential part of the good life?
Melissa Girard is an assistant professor in the Department of English. Her research focuses on twentieth-century American poetry, and she is especially interested in popular and political poetry movements from World War I to the present. Originally from Pittsburgh, she has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Illinois, and still roots for both the Pirates and the Illini.
Foundations of Philosophy (PL 201)
The first half of an introduction to philosophical questioning. Special attention is paid to the origins of philosophy, both with respect to its historical beginnings and its central themes, in the ancient world. Four focal points are: the emergence and development of the distinction between reality and appearance (metaphysics); questions concerning the grounds for distinguishing between knowledge and opinion (epistemology); the nature and status of values (ethical, aesthetic, religious, etc.) within the larger framework of human understanding (axiology); and reflections on the nature of the human as such, or on the human condition (philosophical anthropology).
Joe Farrell - Biograohy forthcoming.
Research Interests: Theory of Human Nature, Phenomenology, Ethical Theory, Medical Ethics, and Business Ethics