Satan's Trouble With Eve

Friday, October 28, 2005

Course Outline

ENGLISH 314 STUDIES IN 17TH-CENTURY LITERATURE
Instructor: STEPHEN OGDEN ogden@sfu.ca SPRING 2006
Leviathan vs. the League of Love, or Satan’s Trouble with Eve

We were born in the 17th Century. Our ideas and habits of mind, our manner of experiencing love and politics, our conflicts and challenges, our troubles with both science and religion –in a word, our lives – follow patterns resulting from 17th Century revolutions. In politics, a Puritan uprising decapitated the King and the Anglican Church in a civil war that involved on both sides some of the century’s literary greats. Correspondingly, in the war of ideas, Thomas Hobbes upturned age-old assumptions about the ordained significance of …. you and I, declaring in his Leviathan that “life is but a motion of limbs,” wherein “the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” These revolutionary conflicts remain unresolved. So when we read in this course Milton’s Paradise Lost; the great Metaphysicals including Donne, Vaughan, Herbert, and Traherene; and representative prose works of the age, we will be adding our participation to a project three centuries long to explain why neither the traditionally religious nor the coldly scientific conception of life satisfy; why Milton’s portrayal of Eve, the great “mother of all living,” in epic battle with the ultra-masculine Satan is still captivating to a post-religious culture; and why Leviathan’s totalitarian conclusion horrifies while its materialist premises delight. Truly, though we may not live in the 17th century the 17th century lives on in us.
PREREQUISITES: Credit or standing in two 100-division English courses and two 200-division English courses, one of which must be Engl. 204 or 205. Recommended: ENGL 205.
REQUIRED TEXTS:
Gardner, Helen, ed. The Metaphysical Poets Penguin
Milton, John Paradise Lost Penguin
Hobbes, Thomas Leviathan Oxford
"Charles I" Eikon Basilike Broadview

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
10% Class participation
10% Research presentation
20% Group project
20% Mid-term essay (approx. 2500 words)
40% Final essay (approx. 3500 words)

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