PHIL 333 CP, Philosophy of Literature

Dr. Andrew Kaethler, Mondays & Wednesdays, 4 pm to 5:15 pm

PHIL 333 CP, Philosophy of Literature (3 sem. hrs.)

This course surveys major ancient, medieval, modern, and postmodern approaches that attempt a theory of literature. The course places modern and postmodern theories in historical perspective by reading key ancient and medieval authors.

What is literature? Why is it important, and how does it respond to, and engage with, perennial philosophical questions? One of the important questions we will pursue is the meaningful shaping of human experience through narrative and rational reflection. Both literature and philosophy give form to the apparent chaos of life. To put it differently, both provide story or narrative to the otherwise ceaseless unfolding of events. Moreover, it is not only philosophical reflection that allows for cultural criticism. We will examine how the literary imagination is crucial for seeing things differently. Flannery O’Connor pithily wrote, “In the land of the deaf you have to shout.” Is literature able to shout over the din of our technological culture in a way that philosophy cannot? We will pursue these questions by engaging with the works of writers who bridged the world of philosophy and literature––Flannery O’Connor, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Iris Murdoch, Charles Williams, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, David Adams Richards, and Plato––along with theorists such as Terry Eagleton, Josef Pieper, Northrop Frye, Richard Kearney, and St Augustine.

   Prerequisite(s): 3 sem. hrs. of philosophy.

   The course meets the University Core Requirement for Philosophy, and meets the requirements for a Philosophy Major, Concentration, or Minor; English Ancillary Requirement; and Christianity and Culture: Catholic Studies Minor.

   All CPC courses may be counted as electives for any TWU Degree.

   CPC courses may count towards CPC certificates as listed in the Course Requirements for each Certificate.

Image:  “When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass