Online courses directory (21)

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Starts : 2003-02-01
No votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free Closed [?] English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

This subject, cross-listed in Literature and Women's Studies, examines a range of American women authors from the seventeenth century to the present. It aims to introduce a number of literary genres and styles- the captivity narrative, slave novel, sensational, sentimental, realistic, and postmodern fiction- and also to address significant historical events in American women's history: Puritanism, the American Revolution, industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century, the Harlem Renaissance, World War II, the 60s civil rights movements. A primary focus will be themes studied and understood through the lens of gender: war, violence, and sexual exploitation (Keller, Rowlandson, Rowson); the relationship between women and religion (Rowlandson, Rowson, Stowe); labor, poverty, and working conditions for women (Fern, Davis, Wharton); captivity and slavery (Rowlandson, Jacobs); class struggle (Fern, Davis, Wharton, Larsen); race and identity (Keller, Jacobs, Larsen, Morrison); feminist revisions of history (Stowe, Morrison, Keller); and the myth of the fallen woman (take your pick). Essays and in-class reports will focus more particularly on specific writers and themes and will stress the skills of close reading, annotation, research, and uses of multimedia where appropriate.

Starts : 2008-09-01
18 votes
Open Yale Free English & Literature English Italian Language and Literature

The course is an introduction to Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of the Divine Comedy and selected minor works (Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Epistle to Cangrande). An analysis of Dante's autobiography, the Vita nuova, establishes the poetic and political circumstances of the Comedy's composition. Readings of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise seek to situate Dante's work within the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages, with special attention paid to political, philosophical and theological concerns. Topics in the Divine Comedy explored over the course of the semester include the relationship between ethics and aesthetics; love and knowledge; and exile and history.

Starts : 2003-02-01
11 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

When John Locke declared (in the 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding) that knowledge was derived solely from experience, he raised the possibility that human understanding and identity were not the products of God's will or of immutable laws of nature so much as of one's personal history and background. If on the one hand Locke's theory led some to pronounce that individuals could determine the course of their own lives, however, the idea that we are the products of our experience just as readily supported the conviction that we are nothing more than machines acting out lives whose destinies we do not control. This course will track the formulation of that problem, and a variety of responses to it, in the literature of the "long eighteenth century." Readings will range widely across genre, from lyric poetry and the novel to diary entries, philosophical prose, and political essays, including texts by Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Mary Astell, David Hume, Laurence Sterne, Olaudah Equiano, Mary Hays, and Mary Shelley. Topics to be discussed include the construction of gender identities; the individual in society; imagination and the poet's work. There will be two essays, one 5-6 pages and one 8-10 pages in length, and required presentations.

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

This course will introduce you to the history and practice of English as a scholarly discipline with the goal of preparing you for your future endeavors as an English major. It has been designed to familiarize you with the various tools that scholars have devised in order to facilitate the study of literary expression in English, from critical frameworks to close reading techniques. After an introductory unit outlining basic approaches to literary analysis, we will embark upon a genre study, devoting each of the four remaining units to a different genre of writing: poetry, the novel, drama, the rhetorical essay, and the critical essay. In each of these units, we will review a general history of the genre, read a representative sample or set of samples, learn genre-specific critical terms and theories, and apply what you have learned to essays of your own. By the end of this course, you will have developed strategies that will enable you to understand, analyze, and critically respond to works in any genre at a…

2 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

At the outset of the 16th century, Europeans tended to dismiss English literature as inferior to continental literary traditions; the educated Englishman was obliged to travel to the continent and speak in other languages in order to “culture” himself.  By the end of the Renaissance, however, some of the greatest works in the English languagefrom Shakespeare’s dramas to Thomas More’s Utopiahad been written.  In this course, we will read and examine these works, situating them within their socio-historical and literary contexts, while attempting to determine how the art of English language and letters came into its own during this dynamic period. We will begin with an overview of European history during the centuries leading up to the Renaissance in order to acquaint ourselves with the profound cultural and social changes brought about by the Italian Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, nationalism/colonialism, and the growing power of the middle class.  We will then embark upon a genre study,…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

The decades between roughly 1890 and 1960 witnessed unprecedented efforts to create new art, new values, and a new culture in Europe and the United States to distance itself from the more socially acceptable works of late Victorian poets and artists. During this time, Western writers, artists, and intellectuals questioned the accepted aesthetic norms and produced radically experimental works of art and new understandings of what it means to live in modern times. The first half of the 20th century also witnessed the most devastating conflicts in Western history the two World Wars and the Holocaust and these events accelerated and profoundly influenced cultural changes. Modernist poetry one of the most interesting cultural developments emerged during this time. While it is true that modernist poetic developments sprang up in unlikely and seemingly spontaneous ways, we will attempt to progress through this course in a roughly chronological manner. This is because, in many ways, even modern poetry retains a…

2 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

Many scholars consider Dante the ultimate Italian poet of his time.  He introduced innovative stylistic techniques to the poetic tradition while also drawing from the philosophy, history, and mythology of the ancient world.  As we will see in the course, he composed his works in the Italian vernacular, setting an important precedent in the literary world of his time, when most of his contemporaries wrote only in Latin.  In this course, we will consider Dante’s literature for its stylistic and thematic contributions to the body of Medieval and Italian literature, as well as for its inventive appraisal of Christianity. Before we look at Dante’s specific literary works, we will first consider him as a writer who worked in a particular historical context and will accordingly begin by taking a look at Dante’s life as well as the culture of Medieval Italy on a broader level.  We will then take a look at some of Dante’s shorter works, most notably his early philosophical treatises.  We will devote the…

4 votes
Saylor.org Free Closed [?] English & Literature English Literature

The Victorian Period of English history (1837-1901) witnessed a set of complex political, social, scientific, medical and philosophical developments. Such developments influenced - and were influenced by - various modes of cultural production, most specifically the Victorian Novel. The reciprocal relationship meant that even as discoveries fed the imaginative worlds of fiction, fictive accounts helped a reading public re imagine the language of those discoveries. As the British Empire expanded its reaches across the globe, news of new societies and cultures circulated back to the British Isles to a degree never before witnessed in English history. At home, British intellectuals began raising important questions concerning the nature of the "Woman Question," or the proper place and role for British women in society, at home, and in the workplace. In addition, this period saw the rise of Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudian psychoanalysis - a set of theories that would forever change global society and culture. In…

No votes
Canvas.net Free Closed [?] English & Literature

Princess stories have been popular for centuries and remain so today around the world; we’ll dive into what these fairy tales mean, and trace the history of these narratives back to their source material, examining contexts all along the way. We’ll borrow tools from cultural studies, literature studies, and film studies to help us analyze these phenomena and what they mean to our society. Many of us may associate princess stories with modern-day products (much of it marketed to small children) or with Disney movies and theme parks. We’ll examine these current versions of fairy tale mythos as well, using our new interpretive tools to uncover not just what’s been changed in the moral and message of the narrative, but what the stories mean as told now.

Starts : 2016-09-01
9 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

This course is a study of the history of theater art and practice from its origins to the modern period, including its roles in non-western cultures. Special attention is given to the relationship between the literary and performative dimensions of drama, and the relationship between drama and its cultural context.

Starts : 2005-09-01
14 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

Introduction to Media Studies is designed for students who have grown up in a rapidly changing global multimedia environment and want to become more literate and critical consumers and producers of media. Through an interdisciplinary comparative and historical lens, the course defines "media" broadly as including oral, print, performance, photographic, broadcast, cinematic, and digital cultural forms and practices. The course looks at the nature of mediated communication, the functions of media, the history of transformations in media and the institutions that help define media's place in society. This year’s course will focus on issues of network culture and media convergence, addressing such subjects as Intellectual Property, peer2peer authoring, blogging, and game modification.

Starts : 2006-02-01
16 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

Topic: The English sense of humor. This course examines English literature across genre and historical periods. It is designed for students who want to study English literature or writing in some depth, or to know more about English literary culture and history. Students will also learn about the relationships between literary themes, forms, and conventions and the times in which they were produced. Materials include: Medieval tales, riddles, and character sketches; Renaissance lyrics and a play, 18th-century satires in words and images, 19th century irony, modern stories and film.

Starts : 2002-09-01
10 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

The aim of this subject is to acquaint the student with some important works of systematic ethical philosophy and to bring to bear the viewpoint of those works on the study of classic works of literature. This subject will trace the history of ethical speculation in systematic philosophy by identifying four major positions: two from the ancient world and the two most important traditions of ethical philosophy since the renaissance. The two ancient positions will be represented by Plato and Aristotle, the two modern positions by Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. We will try to understand these four positions as engaged in a rivalry with one another, and we will also engage with the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, which offers a bridge between ancient and modern conceptions and provides a source for the rivalry between the viewpoints of Kant and Mill. Further, we will be mindful that the modern positions are subject to criticism today by new currents of philosophical speculation, some of which argue for a return to the positions of Plato and Aristotle.

Starts : 2008-09-01
12 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

This subject traces the history of the European novel by studying texts that have been influential in connection with two interrelated ideas. (1) When serious fiction deals with matters of great consequence, it should not deal with the actions of persons of consequence—kings, princes, high elected officials and the like—but rather with the lives of apparently ordinary people and the everyday details of their social ambitions and desires. To use a phrase of Balzac's, serious fiction deals with "what happens everywhere". (2) This idea sometimes goes with another: that the most significant representations of the human condition are those dealing with persons who try to compel society to accept them as its destined agent, despite their absence of high birth or inheritance.

Starts : 2007-09-01
13 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

What is the history of popular reading in the Western world? How does widespread access to print relate to distinctions between highbrow and lowbrow culture, between good taste and bad judgment, and between men and women readers? This course will introduce students to the broad history of popular reading and to controversies about taste and gender that have characterized its development. Our grounding in historical material will help make sense of our main focus: recent developments in the theory and practice of reading, including fan-fiction, Oprah's book club, comics, hypertext, mass-market romance fiction, mega-chain bookstores, and reader response theory.

Starts : 2007-09-01
14 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free Closed [?] English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

What is the history of popular reading in the Western world? How does widespread access to print relate to distinctions between highbrow and lowbrow culture, between good taste and bad judgment, and between men and women readers? This course will introduce students to the broad history of popular reading and to controversies about taste and gender that have characterized its development. Our grounding in historical material will help make sense of our main focus: recent developments in the theory and practice of reading, including fan-fiction, Oprah's book club, comics, hypertext, mass-market romance fiction, mega-chain bookstores, and reader response theory.

Starts : 2015-02-01
9 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Literature MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

It is easy to think of love as a "universal language" - but do ideas about love translate easily across history, culture, and identity? In this course, we will encounter some surprising, even disturbing ideas about love and sex from medieval writers and characters: For instance, that married people can never be in love, that the most satisfying romantic love incorporates pain and violence, and that intense erotic pleasure can be found in celibate service to God. Through Arthurian romances, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, love letters, mystical visions, and more, we will explore medieval attitudes toward marriage, sexuality, and gender roles. What can these perspectives teach us about the uniqueness of the Middle Ages—and how do medieval ideas about love continue to influence the beliefs and fantasies of our own culture?

Starts : 2014-01-13
No votes
FutureLearn Free Closed [?] English & Literature English English Literature Literature University of Birmingham

Academics from the Shakespeare Institute introduce aspects of the most famous play ever written - its origins, texts, and history.

Starts : 2008-03-01
13 votes
Open Yale Free English & Literature English English

In "The American Novel Since 1945" students will study a wide range of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces the formal and thematic developments of the novel in this period, focusing on the relationship between writers and readers, the conditions of publishing, innovations in the novel's form, fiction's engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. The reading list includes works by Richard Wright, Flannery O'Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth and Edward P. Jones. The course concludes with a contemporary novel chosen by the students in the class.

Starts : 2005-09-01
14 votes
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Free English & Literature Comparative Media Studies/Writing MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate

This is a course focused on the literary genre of the essay, that wide-ranging, elastic, and currently very popular form that attracts not only nonfiction writers but also fiction writers, poets, scientists, physicians, and others to write in the form, and readers of every stripe to read it. Some say we are living in era in which the essay is enjoying a renaissance; certainly essays, both short and long, are at present easier to get published than are short stories or novels, and essays are featured regularly and prominently in the mainstream press (both magazines and newspapers) and on the New York Times bestseller books list. But the essay has a history, too, a long one, which goes back at least to the sixteenth-century French writer Montaigne, generally considered the progenitor of the form. It will be our task, and I hope our pleasure, to investigate the possibilities of the essay together this semester, both by reading and by writing.