ENGL 444 - Modern Wisdom Literature
Developing from the “wisdom literatures” of both Greco-Roman and Hebrew tradition, the modern aphorism is characterized by its brief and often pointed expression of an observation or precept. It differs from, say, maxims, proverbs, or apothegms in that it turns on paradox and antithesis; it differs from earlier forms in the ways it undermines rather than supports certainty. This seminar explores the relations of literary form to convictions about the nature and limits of human knowledge, habits of reading, and its uses in life. The course follows the transformation of the aphorism both as form and as impulse as it is reinvented in the Modern period-chiefly following the example of Friedrich Nietzsche-and explores its character as a lyrical corrective to overly definitive and linear ways of organizing and writing about experience.
Major/Minor Restrictions: None
Class Restriction: None
Area of Inquiry: Human Thought and Expression
Liberal Arts CORE: None
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