Literature and the Problem of Belief
9 units (3-0-6)
"On a huge hill, / Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will / Reach her, about must and about must go." In this verse, John Donne captures the difficult and circling pursuit of truth, the mixed experience of belief: it is at once a knowing and an unknowing. By tracing this pursuit through the writings of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, we can explore how writers discovered belief and grappled with doubt, what inspiration they claimed and how they reckoned with failures of vision as they moved through a world increasingly filled with claims and contradictions of the spirit. In our own pursuit of the experience of belief, we shall read the prose and poetry of Margery Kempe, Montaigne, Herbert, Hutchinson, Milton, Defoe, Blake, Barbauld, and Coleridge. Not offered 2021-2022.
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