Such is the battle cry of college Western Lit students everywhere — or, at least in Janus Gates’ class when she was in college.
Now, I’m not expecting spontaneous battle cries of “TARTUFFE!” or “FAUST!” or whatever texts I throw at my Summer II World Literature II students. But hopefully they’ll get something out of being in this class, especially since this is the first time in my seven-year teaching career that I’m teaching World Lit.
Today was the first day, when I gave a crash course in the Enlightenment. I tend to teach by giving contemporary analogues, and I won’t assign a reading that I’m not willing to read myself, given the abbreviated timeframe that summer class allows. It’s common-sense stuff, really, and it looks like my students so far responded well to that.
Oh, about the Enlightement: “progress v. tradition; reason v. passions; moderns v. ancients.” Those binaries are what I wrote on the board, and we talked about what all of that meant, including whether any of them are resolved *today*. Of course, none are resolved, which proved my point, that there are connections between the world of my students with the world of Moliere (whose “Tartuffe” I’ve assigned today).
In addition to “Tartuffe,” they’ll be reading Part I of Goethe’s “Faust,” Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog” and “The Cherry Orchard,” Joyce’s “The Dead,” Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” Gabriel-Marquez’s “Death Constant beyond Love,” and essay selections from Edward Said, Trinh Minh-ha, and Salman Rushdie.
These should keep ’em busy for the next four-and-a-half weeks. Hopefully, good conversation will ensue.