English 233: Introduction to Western Humanities - Reformation to Enlightenment

Lyman Baker, Instructor

Texts for the Course

The following texts, highlighted in red, are required.  All are available at Claflin Books and Copies (in the shopping complex at the corner of Denison and Claflin Avenues, across from the red brick Marlatt Dorm Complex).  Only the first among our required texts may be availble at the beginning of the semester.  I will inform you by e-mail over the class listserv when the others should be acquired.

[For some pointers on other ways to acquire texts for the course, see Some sources of books and CDs.]

Be sure you do not get sold the Second or First Edition of this text.  Only the Third Edition will do.

Most of our first couple of week's reading assignments will be in this book, so it is the only one you need to purchase immediately.

This will be one of our major sources for our forays into painting and sculpture. But for our study of theology, social history, political history and political theory, philosophy, and literature, we will exploit it as a useful "background text." That is, it will afford us an overall framework of context for the readings we make in the following texts and for the ideas we develop in class. (Do not, in other words, make the mistake of thinking that the material in WH is our main business in the course, and the readings and class discussions merely a way of explaining and fleshing out what is in it. On the contrary, it is thoroughly subordinate to our real focus in the course, which is instead precisely on these.)

Only Tartuffe is required reading.  But one of the options concerning an extra-credit assignment will focus on The Misanthrope.  It may be you have access to a different translation of Tartuffe.  While I will not forbid you to use it instead, be aware that no other translation into English even remotely compares with Wilbur's in conveying the comic pizzaz and witty precision of the French original.  Unless you are able to read the play in French itself, you're giving up a lot by not going with Wilbur (who, in addition, is one of the most deft poets writing in English today, and is thoroughly familiar with the entire Molière repertoire)!  [Incidentally, so far as I know the text of this play is nowhere available in French or English on the web.  If anyone runs across a site with it, I'd be grateful to hear about it.]

We will be focusing on the Fourth Book of Gulliver's Travels, which records Gulliver's voyage to the island of the Houynhymns (the talking horses), together with a few of the episodes from Book Three, concerning Gulliver's visit to the flying island Laputa and the Grand Academy of Lagado.  I have ordered enough copies of the text for everyone enrolled in the course because the collection is so convenient (compact, easy to carry), comprehensive (with Swift's most important works), inexpensive ($3.95 new!), and informatively edited (by Miriam Kosh Starkman, whose introduction and footnotes are wonderfully informative).  At the same time, the full text is now available on the web, and the text is beginning to be annotated.  (Unfortunately for us, the excellent annotations have gotten only through Book I.)  If you prefer to print off the required readings, feel free to do so.  (Reading a long text on screen is tiring, reducing your concentration and attention; and there's no way to mark passages and make marginal notes, which any serious reader insists on doing.)

We'll be reading selections from one of the poems in this collection, An Essay on Man.  This, too, can be had from the web, but at the price of this book it's probably not worth the trouble.

You're welcome to use any edition you might already have.  And you can also get the whole text from the web.  But it would cost you more than the price of this edition to print it off!

  Go to the Home Page of the course.

  Suggestions, comments and questions are welcome.  Please send them to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright © 2002 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.