The following courses are directly relevant to the Philosophy, Religion, and Literature minor, and can be taken for course credit in the minor.  If there are courses beyond this list which you think are relevant, and for which you would like to receive PRL course credit, please contact Professor Susannah Monta, Director of the minor.

PRL 40823
Religion and Literature
Ann Astell
TR 2:00-3:15

In this course, we will be reading Dante's Commedia as well as works by Aristotle and various ancient and medieval philosophers. Our aim will be to understand the way an Aristotelian worldview informs the Commedia. We will look at the cosmology of the work and how it responds to ancient and medieval theories of the cosmos. We will also investigate the ethics of Dante's famous journey to hell, purgatory, and heaven with a view to identifying its Aristotelian elements. For instance, what is the role of pleasure in the ethical life? What is the highest good of the human being? How should human beings live in such a way as to achieve their highest end? All readings will be in translation. 

PRL 43701
Modern, Postmodern and Post-Postmodern Poetry and Religion

Romana Huk
MW 12:30-1:45

This course will focus on the last 120 years in literary history, zeroing in on one particular problem – the writing of religious poetry – in order to probe the philosophical convergences and collisions that resulted in what we now call our “post-secular” era of thought. Beginning with Gerard Manley Hopkins at the end of the nineteenth-century, and major modernists who continued to write powerfully after WWII – T.S. Eliot and David Jones – the syllabus will chart a course through the rapidly changing poetic forms of two further generations of poets working devotedly, if differently, out of various religious systems of belief. The many dilemmas of postmodernity include redefining the very notion of “belief” (versus “faith”) after the secular revelations of science and modernity; we will explore the theoretical issues involved in order to better understand what’s at stake for each writer we encounter, among them also Mina Loy, Muriel Rukeyser, Brian Coffey, Wendy Mulford, Fanny Howe, Hank Lazer and Peter O’Leary. We will ask, among other things, why ancient mystical frameworks seemed newly hospitable, for some, in the face of postmodern suspicions about language and institutions, while for others embracing the sciences renewed faith. We will consider the crucial input of Judaism in Christianity’s re-thinkings of language and religious experience, as well as consider how issues of nation and gender inflect changing relationships between poetry and religion. Students will emerge conversant with the major debates in contemporary literary theory as well as with developments in contemporary poetry; no prior expertise in reading poetry is necessary for this course. Each will develop their own particular approach to our issues through the writing of  a reading journal and one paper, and each will be responsible for co-leading of class discussion twice in the course of the term.