ENG 119 CC: LIT AND EVOLUTION OF MIND
Why do people tell stories? What's in it for the listener? For the teller? What is it about our brains, our minds, that makes us love the act of story-telling, and the literary embodiments of that act, so much? Why do some stories survive while others are lost? Why do certain stories have so much meaning for us as individuals? And why are some stories so central to entire cultures? Taking story-telling to be a fundamental human drive, this course will explore the evolving relationship between storytelling and the mind through close reading of literary texts, with help from cognitive neuroscience and philosophy. As part of this exploration, we will investigate how knowledge is constructed in the field of literary study, and look at various ways in which this field interacts with other areas of study in the liberal arts. Covering a diverse range of course materials, the course will begin with one of the foundational texts of the Western literary canon (Homer's Odyssey) and conclude with the work of a major African-American novelist (Toni Morrison's Beloved). Literary works are particularly successful embodiments of the story-telling impulse, and we will consider these works in relation to the role that "story" plays in our everyday lives.
As a ConnCourse, this class will make connections across the liberal arts.
Enrollment limited to 18 students.
A4, MOIB, W, CC