Philosophy and Literature (CLASSICS 42, COMPLIT 181, ENGLISH 81, FRENCH 181, GERMAN 181, ILAC 181, ITALIAN 181, PHIL 81)
What, if anything, does reading literature do for our lives? What can literature offer that other forms of writing cannot? Can fictions teach us anything? Can they make people more moral? Why do we take pleasure in tragic stories? This course introduces students to major problems at the intersection of philosophy and literature. It addresses key questions about the value of literature, philosophical puzzles about the nature of fiction and literary language, and ways that philosophy and literature interact. Readings span literature, film, and philosophical theories of art. Authors may include Sophocles, Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Proust, Woolf, Walton, Nietzsche, and Sartre. Students master close reading techniques and philosophical analysis, and write papers combining the two. This is the required gateway course for the Philosophy and Literature major tracks. Majors should register in their home department.